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Tompolo’s firm raises questions on discrepancies in port of discharge of impounded vessel

Tompolo’s firm raises questions on discrepancies in port of discharge of impounded vessel
August 06
17:09 2023

The Nigerian Navy and Tantita Security Services Limited, a private security company, are at odds over the port of discharge for a vessel suspected of oil theft.

The private security outfit is headed by Government Ekpemupolo, a Niger Delta agitator, also known as Tompolo.

On Wednesday, the Tanita Security Services said it intercepted the MT Praisel, a vessel carrying crude oil suspected to have been stolen in the Koko area of Delta state.

The vessel was reportedly flying a Togolese flag and was being escorted by a navy boat led by a senior naval commander.


In a statement on Friday, Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, the Nigerian Navy spokesperson, cautioned members of the public against making assumptions that the shipment of oil was stolen until the results of laboratory tests and investigations are completed.

Ayo-Vaughan noted that the vessel in question was approved by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA).

He added that the navy is awaiting the results of laboratory tests and in-depth investigations into the allegation of stolen oil.


However, in a statement on Sunday, the private security outfit acknowledged that the NMDPRA approved the MT Praisel as stated by the navy, it questioned the discrepancy in the port of discharge.

“On August 1, 2023, Tantita received credible intelligence report that a vessel, which had got NMDPRA approval to deliver HPFO from Koko to Lagos offshore would proceed in the opposite direction,” the statement reads.

“On August 2, 2023, Tantita operatives approached the MT PRAISEL as it made its way through a creek in Delta, off the Benin River.

“On board the vessel were naval personnel, while the Tantita inspection crew included officers and men of Operation Delta Safe (the inter-service task force for fighting crude oil theft).


“The intelligence suggested that the vessel ought to be sailing to Lagos, but the master of the vessel showed he was sailing to Bonny.”

Tantita said that the company requested a naval clearance for the MT Praisel, adding that the documentation shown by the master of the vessel showed Koko as the port of discharge for storage only.

“There was nothing showing Bonny as port of discharge in that document.

“In line with standard procedure, Tantita requested further clarification from the crew regarding the discrepancy between NMDPRA approval and the naval clearance, and permission to take samples of cargo on board.


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

“Tantita had no option but to escalate the issue to higher authorities, which mandated that the vessel anchor off Escravos for further investigation.


“We are yet to see that documentation, and as we noted, the Nigerian Navy clearance we saw did not state Bonny as the port of discharge.

“In the circumstances, there were reasonable grounds to suspect the movement of MT PRAISEL in the opposite direction from the NMDPRA clearance seen.


“While it is our honest belief that the Naval headquarters’ press statement was actuated by the best motives, clearly, there are questions that beg for answers.

“For example, why is NMDPRA approved port of discharge (Lagos offshore) different from the Navy clearance (Koko as storage) and why are both different from the port of discharge stated in the naval press statement (Bonny)?


“In several joint meetings, we have consistently asked for a single clearing house for all approvals so that each agency of government can see what the other is approving or has approved.”

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