Tompolo’s Firm, Tantita Arrests Another Vessel with Stolen Crude Oil in Bayelsa

Sylvester Idowu in Warri

The private security firm contracted by the federal government in the fight against crude oil theft, Tantita Security Services Limited (TSSL) has arrested another ocean-going vessel with 88,000 litres of stolen crude oil offshore Bayelsa state.

The vessel named MT Harbour Spirit with IMO 8226272 was apprehended by a joint operation by the officials of TSSL, owned by a former militant commander in the Niger Delta, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo and men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

Director of Operations of TSSL, Captain Warredi Enisuoh, who paraded the vessel and crew members yesterday at Oporoza in Warri South West Local Government area of Delta State, said the vessel was apprehend in the early hours of last Sunday, February 4.

He said the vessel and the crew were put under surveillance for months before they were finally caught in the act while loading crude oil illegally at Segana oil field off Bayelsa coast by operatives of Tantita in conjunction with the NSCDC personnel as well as the operatives of the military.

Enisuoh disclosed that the vessel had been loaded with 88,000 litres of crude oil when the operatives swooped on them at about 1 am on Sunday, adding that their swift response minimised the quantity already stolen.

He said the vessel was not a Nigerian registered ship, stressing that it was a “Maldovan” ship but that the crew were Nigerians.

The director of operations of TSSL disclosed that 13 crew members were arrested on-board the vessel while three jumped into the sea to escape being apprehended. He said they have been cooperative so far since the arrest.

He commended the new synergy between TSSL operatives and the military and in particular the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy and others as directed by the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Christopher Musa and Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla.

Enisuoh also expressed appreciation to the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, for deploying a special force to be part of investigation to unravel the perpetrators of the dastardly act.

Head of Investigations of the Nigerian Police Special Task Force on Petroleum and Illegal Bunkering, Omar Sini, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) accompanied by Faith Okwuego, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) assured that thorough investigation would be carried out and the report will be released to the public.

“As always investigation has since commenced and further progress and eventual outcome of the investigation will be made public through the office of the Force Public Relations office”, he said.

Captain of the arrested vessel, Shittu Joseph, confirmed that they were apprehended at the spot where their vessel was been loaded with stolen crude oil, adding that they were 16 crew members but three jumped into the sea and can’t be accounted for now.

He said they were misguided by their employer who gave them the impression they were on genuine business trip and that everything was properly documented.

Shittu disclosed that at a point they became uncomfortable with the arrangement and were about to leave the ship when Tantita operatives and NSCDC personnel swooped on them.

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