Oil Theft: Troops, Others Intercept Vessel In Ondo

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Troops of the Nigerian Army, in collaboration with operatives of the Tantita Security Services Limited and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp, NSCDC, on Thursday arrested a vessel engaged in oil theft in the coastal waters of Ondo State.

It was gathered that the vessel was sighted off the coast of Ondo State while loading crude oil from a wellhead.

The vessel had personnel of the Nigerian Navy on board, according to security sources who did not wish to be named.

The sources also disclosed that the vessel was captured on video while engaging in the clandestine activity.

A combined team of soldiers, men of the NSDC and Tantita operatives accosted the vessel.

However, it was gathered that the naval personnel refused a request by the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL, that the vessel be moved to the NNPCL Jetty at Oporoza for a joint inspection.

The naval officers insisted that the Navy had earlier arrested the vessel and that they were escorting it to a naval base.

In the course of the argument, according to sources, the naval officers started shooting, leading to a stand-off with the joint team of the Army, NSCDC and Tantita.

It was gathered that the naval men fired a barrage of shots to ward off the security agents and the Tantita operatives from accessing the vessel.

The troops, the NSCDC and the Tantita operatives who are enforcing a pipeline protection contract awarded by the Federal Government in a bid to check oil theft, reportedly became worried when the Navy insisted that the vessel should not be taken for joint inspection.

As of the time of filing this report, the vessel is yet to be boarded by the troops and operatives engaged in the pipeline protection contract, leading to concerns that it might eventually disappear without trace.

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