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Barge, truck laden with stolen crude, eight suspects busted in Niger Delta

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In a wave of operations, a barge and truck with consignments of stolen crude oil have been intercepted in the Niger Delta.

In all, eight suspects were arrested on board the vessels.

Tantita Security Services, in two separate operations, intercepted the stolen crude oil.

In the first of two recent high-profile discoveries by Tantita Security Services, the Maritime Intelligence Unit of the Private Security Contractor (PSC) was tipped off on the activities of a suspected vessel on December 22, 2022.

It was gathered that the PSCs mobilized and raided the location where they discovered an unpropelled barge alternately loading Crude Oil and illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) in a tight creek area from an illegal storage facility within the vicinity of Agge, a short distance from the Right of Way of the Trans Ramos Pipeline (TRP).

Upon investigation, the barge “BRIGHTON-1” was discovered to be unregistered and undocumented with the appropriate maritime authorities. It was arrested alongside a large wooden canoe for conveying illegally refined AGO and a locally built wooden Tug powered by Caterpillar Fiat 850 Engine.

Four suspects were also arrested on board the vessels.

The apprehended suspects are the Marine Engineer coordinating the BRIGHTON-1 loading and discharge operations, the skipper of the wooden Tugboat, a Ship Chandler providing logistics and supplies to BRIGHTON-1 and a speedboat driver that was delivering supplies to the BRIGHTON-1.

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In the second discovery, an unregistered truck loaded with Crude Oil was apprehended in the early hours of December 10, 2022, discharging its illegal contents into the underground storage tanks of a fuel station belonging to Blessed Corporate Oil and Gas services Ltd, located opposite Asjam Hotel Opete, Warri.

Personnel from the Nigerian Army, 3rd Battalion in Warri have secured the discovery location and the truck used for the operation.

The PSC also arrested four suspects in connection with this discovery.

Also recovered were two fuel-pumping machines being used for the operation.

On May 2, 2019, the IGP Special Task Force on Pipeline Vandalization attached to the PPMC Depot Warri arrested four suspects with links to the owners of Blessed Corporate Oil and Gas services Ltd over the alleged involvement of vandalism and crude oil theft.

Investigations are in full swing, and efforts are being intensified to unravel the identity of the criminals involved in these recent discoveries.

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