Shocking details emerged yesterday on the intrigues behind the interception and destruction of the 800,000-tonne capacity vessel bearing stolen crude oil.
The vessel, MT TURA II (IMO number: 6620462), was apprehended in the wee hours of last Friday by operatives of a private security firm, Tantita Security Services, after a weeklong surveillance of its movements.
According to Tantita Security Services, the vessel was laden with 150,000 metric tonnes of stolen crude oil.
The Nation reports that as of yesterday, 150,000 metric tonnes of stolen crude oil was valued at $86,860,500.00
The vessel was conveying its cargo from Nigeria to Cameroon when it was intercepted at a location offshore in Ondo State with 11 Nigerians and one Ghanaian on board.
Following its interception, it was anchored at the Oporoza-Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area (LGA) of Delta State.
It was gathered that the vessel had been caught twice with stolen crude in the past 12 years and handed over to the Navy, but it resurfaced again under a disguised name.
But it was set ablaze yesterday at exactly 1:09 pm, at a creek close to Bennett Island in Warri South West, despite another alleged intervention to have it handed over to the Navy.
Tantita’s Executive Director on Technical Operations, Captain Warredi Enisuoh, said the burning was executed by a team of the military, law enforcement agents, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and Delta State government officials.
Tantita Security Services is owned by former Niger Delta warlord, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo.
Tompolo’s firm is under contract with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), for, among others, oil pipeline surveillance.
According to the NNPCL, MT TURA II is owned by a Nigeria Registered Company, Holab Maritime Services Limited with Registration Number RC813311.
The vessel’s original name was Ali-Riza-Bey, but it was altered to MT Tura 11 to evade security agents’ surveillance.
The NNPCL had explained in a statement on Monday that the vessel was secretly being serially used for stealing crude and its destruction was a means of deterrent.
The oil giant’s Chief Communications Officer, Garba Deen Muhammad, said preliminary investigations revealed that the crude oil cargo onboard was illegally sourced from a well jacket offshore Ondo State, Nigeria.