Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited, in collaboration with the Nigerian Police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, apprehended Mordovia’s vessel, MT Harbor Spirit, bearing IMO No. 8226272, in Bayelsa State for illegal crude oil bunkering.
Paraded by Tantita’s Executive Director of Operations, Captain Warriedi Enisuoh, the vessel and its 12 Nigerian crew members were presented to the public on Tuesday at Tantita’s facility in Oporoza, Gbaramatu Kingdom, near Escravos.
According to Enisuoh, the vessel was intercepted around 1 a.m. on Sunday while loitering near Sangana Oilfield in Bayelsa. It had anchored illegally onto an oil platform, already siphoning approximately 88,000 litres of crude oil at the time of arrest.
The primary objective behind the arrest was to curb oil theft, with Enisuoh emphasizing the collaborative efforts among security agencies to apprehend both the vessel’s sponsors and those utilizing it for criminal activities.
“This operation reflects the strict directives issued by the Chief of Defense Staff to combat crude oil theft, fully endorsed by our security forces,” stated Enisuoh.
Responding to inquiries from journalists, the vessel’s captain, identified as Shittu Joseph, recounted being caught by Tantita and NSCDC operatives at the loading point in Sangana. He lamented the operation’s disruption, revealing that three crew members had jumped into the water during the apprehension.
“We are merely a crew seeking sustenance,” Joseph expressed. “As Nigerians, we seek only our livelihood.”
Chief Superintendent of Police Omar Sini, Head of Investigations at the Police Special Task Force on Petroleum and Illegal Bunkering, confirmed that the investigation had commenced. He assured that updates and the investigation’s outcome would be disseminated through the Nigeria Police Force’s Public Relations Office.