Nigerians have decried the haste at which a vessel with stolen crude oil was destroyed by the Nigerian Navy on Monday, 10th October 2022 in Delta State, with some of them saying the destruction would rather cause suspicion of foul play.
Staff of the Nigerian Navy destroyed an illegal oil bunkering vessel arrested with stolen crude oil aboard Niger Delta creeks. The vessel was arrested by operatives of newly-contracted private oil pipeline surveillance team, Tantita Security Services, run by Tompolo, alongside its seven-member crew on 6th October, 2022, on the creeks of Escravos, while crude oil was being loaded illegally into the ship.
About 600 to 650 cubic metres of illegally lifted crude oil in five compartments was said to be on board the vessel with registration number L85 B9.50 at the time it was arrested.
Nigerian Navy personnel set the ill-fated vessel on fire on Warri River at about 3pm on Monday, 10th October 2022, following the confession of the ship’s captain, Temple Manasseh, that the vessel was crude-laden.
Manasseh, in his confession, stated “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”.
Although the Nigerian Navy officials who destroyed the oil vessel did not talk to journalists about the incident, the Marine Intelligence Consultant for Tantita Security Services, Captain Warredi Enisuoh, affirmed that the arrest was a result of intelligence gathering explaining that the operatives “monitored the space via satellite”.
Enisuoh stated that 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 had scheduled to take the stolen crude to Tema in Ghana.
Many Nigerian social media users have expressed their thoughts on the destruction of the vessel.
Shine Brave/ENDSARS wrote: ”Is there sense in this action done by the security agents in Nigeria?Continual degradation of the environment and sea life. Insincerity in all spheres of govt officers, if not what stops them from handing this vessel over to another agency of govt incharge of handing equipment?
Duke of Northumbria: ”This is just covering someone’s track. Because you can’t burn evidence before prosecution”.
While Egwu Godwin wrote: “Burning evidence so that no one will be tied to it… No body will be prosecuted… Na only today una intercept am since 9 years, is that not a big failure and that everyone in charge should resign? Minister of petroleum never talk sef”.
Story: Ene Ken-Yawe