Oil theft: Why we suspected, intercepted MT Praisel—Tantita

Asaba—Management of the Tantita Security Services Nigeria Ltd (TSSNL) has explained why it suspected and subsequently intercepted a Togo flag-bearing vessel, MT Praisel in Koko, Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State.

According to the Tribune, the TSSNL management in a statement issued late Saturday with attached documents and made available to the press in Warri, explained that it intercepted MT Praisel because of discrepancies in documentation and that it was suspiciously headed for a designation different from what is stated in her documents.

“..On the 1st of August 2023, Tantita received credible intelligence that a vessel, which had obtained MDPRA approval to deliver HPFO from Koko to LAGOS OFFSHORE would be proceeding in the opposite direction.

“On the 2nd of August 2023, Tanita operatives approached the MT PRAISEL It made its way through a creek in Delta State off Benin River.

“On board the vessel were Naval personnel, while the Tantita crew included officers and men from the Operation Delta Safe (the inter service task force for fighting crude oil theft amongst other things in the Niger Delta).

“The intelligence suggested that the vessel ought to be sailing to Lagos, but the Master of the vessel indicated he was sailing to Bonny.

“Tantita requested for naval clearance, and the documentation shown by the Master of the vessel indicated Koko as a port of discharge for storage only.

“There was nothing indicating Bonny as a port of discharge in that document in line with standard procedure.

“Tantita requested for further clarification from the crew as to the discrepancy between NMDPRA permit and the naval clearance and permission to take samples of the cargo on board.

“Understandably, this infuriated the naval personnel on board who requested Tantita personnel to immediately disembark from the vessel.

“Tantita had no option, but to escalate the issue to higher authorities who mandated that the vessel be anchored off Escravos coasts for further investigation,” the management stated in part.

Recall that the vessel, MT Praisel, which was suspected to be laden with crude oil and being accompanied by naval officers, was arrested Wednesday, August 2.

However, the authorities of the Nigerian Navy in Friday August 4, swiftly issued a statement signed by the Director of Information, Nigerian Navy, Commodore AO Ayo Vaughan as regards the arrest of the vessel.

The navy had claimed that MT Praisel was approved by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) to load 1,114,721 litres of high pour fuel oil (HPFO) from Greenmac Energy Storage/Tarus Jetty Koko from 26 July-8 August 2023, contrary to what it described as “misrepresentation of facts to unsuspecting public.”

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