By Dele Ogunyemi
Security agencies on Tuesday set ablaze the vessel laden with 150 metric tonnes of stolen crude oil earlier intercepted on Escravos sea in Delta State by operatives of Tantita Security Services Limited, the pipeline surveillance security outfit owned by the former militant leader, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo a.k.a. Tompolo.
The vessel, MT TURA II (IMO Number:6620462) with Registration Number, RC 813311, owned by Holab Maritime Services Limited was conveying crude oil from Nigeria to Cameroon when it was arrested last Friday with 11 Nigerians and one Ghanaian onboard.
It was set ablaze at exactly 1.09 pm on Tuesday at a creek close to Bennett Island in Warri South West Local government area of the state.
Top hierarchy of the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited as well as officials of the Delta State Government were on the ground as security operatives and personnel of the NNPCL set the vessel ablaze.
Speaking with journalists while the ship was burning, Tantita Executive Director on Technical Operations, Captain Warredi Enisuoh disclosed that the government had made “a swift decision” to destroy the vessel.
He said, “The whole idea of destroying the vessel is to send a strong message to all would-be investors that this is what they are to face if they tow this type of business”.
He further stated that illegal bunkers and their sponsors should be ready to lose their assets as the government and security forces will do all it takes to bring them to book.