A private security outfit, Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited (TSSNL) has secured the forfeiture of the vessel it earlier seized, MT Kali to the Federal Government.
The forfeiture is seen as another major win for the nation in collaboration with other security agencies, especially the Nigerian Police Force (NPF).
Regarded as a landmark judgment, the Federal High Court sitting in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, ordered the forfeiture of an illegal crude oil vessel, MT Kali and its content to the Federal Government. MT Kali was arrested by the operatives of TSSNL in conjunction with the special security task force set up by the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, on January 11th, 2024.
Maritime Bits had reported that MT Kali was arrested while siphoning crude oil from Pennington Oil field belonging to the Anglo-Dutch energy giant, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
It is on record that the dexterity and patriotic zeal by the operatives of TSSNL led by its Executive Director, Operations and Technical Services, Captain Warriedi Enisuoh and a team raised by the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Kayode Egbetokun was in no small way contributed to the present success of the case.
The Inspector General of Police had directed the Police Special Task Force on Petroleum and Illegal Bunkering (IGP-STFPIB) under the command of Mr. Lot Lantoh Garba, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, to launch a discreet investigation into the arrest of the bunkering ship.
Maritime Bits checks show that securing this judgment is a first scenario in recent times when oil thieves and their barons are being prosecuted and brought to book with no fewer than 20 crew members, including community boys’ accomplices, were arrested in the operation.
The Police in the charge number FHC/ABJ/CR/18/2024 B/W: INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE V. MT KALI and 22 ORS had arraigned the vessel and its 22 crew members before the Federal High Court, presided over by Justice J.O. Abdulmalik.
Justice Abdulmalik granted the motion for the interim forfeiture of MT Kali and her content to the Federal Government.
The arraignment of the suspects was however stalled as they were not produced in the court by the office of the Chief of Defence Staff as all efforts by the prosecuting counsel to convince the court to issue a production warrant to be served on the military authorities for the production of the defendants on 18th March, 2024 being the next adjournment date or at least the issue of defendants’ summons to be served on the defendants through the military authorities proved abortive.
The court, however, sternly warned that the charge may not survive beyond the next adjournment date should the prosecution not secure the attendance of the defendants for their arraignment and plea.
Investigations into the arrest of MT Kali were being intensified as operatives of TSSNL arrested another illegal bunkering ship MT HARBOR SPIRIT on February 4, 2024.
The Moldovian vessel was caught while stealing crude oil from Sengana oilfields in the coastal axis of Bayelsa State.
It was gathered that investigation and prosecution of the two bunkering ships and their crew members were being diligently coordinated by Enisuoh and Head, Investigation, IGP-STPIB, Mr. Omar John Sini, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP).
In the same vein, MT Harbor Spirit and members of her crew are to be arraigned in court on Friday, March 1st, 2024.


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