Nigeria: Mystery Surrounds MT Kali: Captain Claims Ignorance as Tantita Security Services Uncovers Suspected Stolen Crude Oil
By Ahmad Hadizat Omayoza, Mamos Nigeria
In a puzzling turn of events, the captain of MT Kali, David Adeboye, expressed bewilderment over the presence of crude oil in his ship, which was impounded by Tantita Security Services in Bayelsa State on Sunday. The vessel, loaded with approximately 119 tonnes of suspected stolen crude oil, has ignited a wave of speculation as the captain claims he was assigned to transport Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) but cannot explain how the cargo deviated.
Captain Adeboye, speaking to journalists during a tour of the impounded vessel at Oporoza, Delta State, shared the sequence of events leading up to the interception. He detailed that the vessel had undergone maintenance in Lagos for over a year before being instructed to test-run its engines and subsequently transport AGO from Bayelsa.
However, Adeboye emphasized his lack of awareness regarding the switch from AGO to crude oil, stating, “At which point it turned to be crude oil; that’s what I am battling to figure out.” He pointed to the agent, responsible for connecting them to the ship, as the one who brought individuals that loaded the vessel with crude oil.
Tantita Security Services Executive Director, Captain Warriedi Enisuoh, shed light on the interception, revealing that the vessel, with a weight of 3,000 tons, left Lagos and deliberately turned off its AIS. Intelligence indicated its arrival in the Niger Delta, specifically the Pennington oil field in Bayelsa, for an illicit crude oil loading operation.
Enisuoh detailed the strategic use of drones with infrared capability to detect the ship’s location before deploying forces. The Tantita team, in collaboration with Civil Defence, successfully overpowered the individuals responsible for the alleged theft.
The suspected stolen crude oil is traced back to one of Shell Petroleum Development Company’s platforms in the Pennington Oil Field. Investigations are ongoing, focusing on individuals identified on the platform during the operation.
As the MT Kali remains held at Tantita Operational Base in Oporoza, Gbaramatu Kingdom, Delta State, the incident underscores the challenges of maritime security and raises questions about the intricate network involved in such illicit operations.