The MT Deima, crude oil laden vessel, with International Maritime Organisation (IMO) number 7210526, arrested on Thursday at the Escravos River in Warri South West Local Government Area, Delta state, by a security company, Tantita Security Services Limited, has been set ablaze by the Nigerian Navy on Monday.
EnergyDay gathered that the vessel was set ablaze on Warri River at about 3pm on Monday, by some Nigerian Navy personnel after the confession of Temple Manasseh, who was the suspected Captain of the crude-laden vessel.
Recall that the Tantita Security Services Limited, a firm owned by Government Ekpemopolo aka Tompolo, that recently won a pipeline surveillance contract awarded by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) to assist in exposing and arresting oil thieves and pipeline vandals across the country.
in what looks like its major breakthrough, Tompolo and his team arrested the ill fated crude oil vessel handed over the illegal crude oil vessel with International Maritime Organisation (IMO) number 7210525, to the Nigerian Navy on Saturday with eight crew members including the captain of the ship(all Nigerians).
Meanwhile, as at the period of filing this report, Commodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, Navy’s spokesperson was not available to provide further brief on the level of investigation carried out before setting the vessel ablaze.
Tompolo and his team claimed to have arrested the vessel after an intelligence gathering showed that a vessel was loading at the Escravos axis.
The private Security firm also claimed that they were offered the sum of N25million as bribe to destroy evidence and allow the ship to be excused, but denied the offer.
However, based on the confession made by Captain Manasseh, after he was nabbed by the Tompolo team, he alleged that his vessel was hijacked by some gunmen who diverted it on the creeks and forcefully loaded crude oil into it.
According to him, the capacity of the vessel was 1,500 metric tonnes. He also confessed that the entire crew members came from Lagos, adding that they came to pick the crude with the intention of being loaded and returned to Lagos, but for the arrest.
He said, “I was arrested in Escravos by Tompolo boys but the alleged stolen crude oil was not loaded by me. My vessel was hijacked by some boys who forced the loaded crude into my ship.
“I don’t know the hijackers at all. But when Tompolo security operatives stormed the scene, they all ran away and abandoned their loading operation which had lasted about two and a half hours, the arrested Captain confessed.
Captain Warredi Enisuoh, Marine Intelligence Consultant for Tantita Security Services, has also revealed that the vessel and crew were monitored via satellite.
He further revealed that the records showed that the Dutch vessel sold to a Nigerian had been variously “used for moving crude oil illegally for years,” adding that the arrested vessel was scheduled to load the stolen crude and deliver it in Tema, Ghana.
Meanwhile, the Socio-economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has vowed to sue the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration over the discovery of illegal oil pipelines, compelling the Nigerian Government to name the owners of the fuel laden vessels.
According to SERAP, We’re suing the Buhari administration over the discovery of illegal oil pipelines, to compel it to name those responsible for the plundering of the country’s oil wealth, bring them to justice, and recover the proceeds of crime.