MT Deima vessel caught on Thursday last week with illegal crude oil by the Tantita Security Services Limited in Delta state, has been set ablaze by the Nigerian military in Warri.
The vessel with International Maritime Organisation (IMO) number 7210525, arrested by a security company, Tantita Security Services Limited, was set ablaze on Monday by the Nigerian military.
The vessel, whose owners are yet to be identified, was loaded with an unspecified quantity of crude oil at the Escravos River in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State with eight crew members when it was apprehended.
It was arrested by security officials and handed over to the Nigerian Navy on Saturday last week.
The vessel was apprehended following a tip off that a ship was loading at the Escravos axis and the sum of N25million was allegedly offered as bribe to the security officials.
It was revealed that the capacity of the vessel is 1,500 metric tonnes and had on board eight crew members who were all Nigerians while the captain of the vessel confessed that they came in from Lagos and that if they were not arrested, the ship would have sailed back to Lagos.
However, the Marine Intelligence Consultant for Tantita Security Services Ltd, Captain Warredi Enisuoh, who spoke to journalists, affirmed that the arrest was a result of intelligence gathering.
He explained that the TSSL security men actually “monitored the space via satellite.”
According to him, available records showed that the Dutch vessel was sold to a Nigerian and it had been on several occasions “used for moving crude oil illegally for years.”
He added that the arrested vessel had scheduled to take the stolen crude to Tema in Ghana before its interception.
Captain Enisuoh expressed delight that the TSSL’s involvement in maritime security as regards the oil sector was yielding bountiful results.
“The operation of Tantita Security Services in collaboration with Operation Delta Safe, which is a government and private sector initiative, has yielded positive results leading to the arrest.
“Tantita actually has intelligence on five vessels. It was the only one (the destroyed vessel) that came in since the security operations started.
“And the identity of the vessel’s owners has been established.”
“Our advice is that the rest should not come near Nigerian waters because if you think Nigeria is not serious, today’s revelation is their answer,” he warned.
As at the time of filing this report, all efforts to reach out to the Nigerian military were unsuccessful and no reason had been given for the action even when investigations were said to be concluded.
Source told our correspondent that Nigerian Military is trying to destroy evidence only geared at covering theft.