Tantita Security Services Limited (TSSNL) has arrested a Moldovian registered vessel with Nigerian crew members conveying about 88,000 litres of stolen products suspected to be crude oil.

The ship was said to have been arrested after close monitoring by the Nigerian Navy and officials of the TSSL.

This was disclosed by Capt. Warriedi Enisuoh, the Executive Director, Operations and Technical of TSSL on Tuesday, at Oporoza, Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta while addressing newsmen.

Addressing newsmen onboard the impounded vessel, Enisuoh said the vessel was caught while loading crude oil from the Segana Oil Field in the coast of Bayelsa in the wee hours of Sunday and taken to Oporoza.

Speaking further, Enisuoh said the private security outfit in synergy with the other government security agencies had been on the trail of the vessel for some months before its final arrest.

“Immediately we found it loitering on Sunday about 1:00am, we swung into action and discovered that it tapped into one of the oil platforms loading crude oil.

“We arrested the ship with 12 crew and three community persons onboard the vessel,” he said.

Enisuoh recalled that few weeks ago, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Christopher Musa gave a strict instruction on how to deal with crude oil theft.

“One of his watch-word is that we are working in synergy with the Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Army, the Police, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Department of State Service.

“What we are seeing today is the the result of the instruction which was heavily supported by the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Adm. Emmanuel Ogalla which led to the arrest,” he said.

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“We appreciate the synergy and cooperation we have with the security forces, particularly the supports from the CDS and CNS.

“Of course, more of the arrest is taking place in Bayelsa probably because the perpetrators have found a porous ground.

“Probably the synergy between TSSL and the military has pushed them out of the land, though not totally eroded of the problem in the land,” he said.

Captain of the ship, Mr Shittu Joseph, while feilding questions from newsmen, said they were 15 crew members, adding that three of them jumped into the sea.

According to him, those that jumped into the sea had not been found.

He said the vessel belongs to Joju Oil and Gas based in Lagos State, saying, “We were instructed to go and load sludge and crude oil from a barge. On our way going, they told us that one person will come onboard, he is the super cargo or pilot.

“We were not pleased with the arrangement, we wanted to leave but while waiting for a boat that will take us away, the NSCDC and TSSL officials came to arrested us.”

In his response, CSP Omar Sini, the Head of Investigation, Police Taskforce on Petroleum and Illegal Bunkering, said investigation had since begun.

He said the outcome of the investigation would be made public through the office of the Force Public Relations Officer.

“Robust investigation will be conducted aimed at tracking the actual culprit behind the crime,”‘ Sini said.

This is the second vessel TSSL has arrested within three weeks.