Oil vessel intercepted on Ondo coastline was heading to Cameroon, says NNPC



The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited says the 800,000-litre vessel intercepted on the coastline of Ondo state was Cameroon-bound.


Garba Deen Muhammad, NNPC Ltd spokesperson, announced the development in a statement on Monday.


Nigerianeye had reported that the joint military task force had intercepted a vessel laden with 150,000 tonnes of crude oil, which had been evading arrest.


Giving details of the arrest, Muhammad said the vessel has been in stealth mode for 12 years, making detection difficult.


 “Following the receipt of credible intelligence, Tantita Security Services, a private security contractor engaged by NNPC Ltd, intercepted a suspicious vessel with a cargo of crude oil on board on July 7, 2023,” Muhammad said.


“The vessel, MT TURA II (IMO number: 6620462), owned by a Nigerian registered company, Holab Maritime Services Limited with registration number RC813311, was heading to Cameroun with the cargo on board when it was apprehended at an offshore location (latitude: 5.8197194477543235°, longitude: 4.789002723991871°), with the captain and crew members on board.”


 He said preliminary investigations revealed that the crude oil cargo onboard was illegally sourced from a well jacket offshore in Ondo.


 “There was no valid documentation for the vessel or the crude oil cargo onboard at the time of the arrest,” the NNPC Ltd spokesperson said.


“Further investigation into the activities of the vessel at the NNPC Ltd command and control centre also revealed that the vessel has been operating in stealth mode for the last 12 years. The last reported location of the vessel was Tin Can Port in July 2011.


“Details of this arrest and the outcomes of the investigations were escalated to the appropriate government authorities, upon which it was concluded to destroy the vessel to serve as a strong warning and deterrent to all those participating in such illegal activities to cease and desist.


“Destroying vessels involved in transporting stolen crude oil is of paramount importance as a strong deterrent.


 “The illegal trade of stolen crude oil not only inflicts significant economic losses on Nigeria and legitimate stakeholders in the oil industry, but also perpetuates a cycle of corruption, environmental devastation, and social instability.”


Muhammad assured that NNPC Ltd would sustain the momentum in the war against crude oil theft until it is brought to a halt.

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