Navy deploys 10 gunships, two helicopters in Niger Delta
…Exercise to curb oil theft, piracy, says CNS
The Eastern Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy has inaugurated its Chief of Naval Staff Annual Sea Inspection, deploying 10 gunships and two helicopters to tackle illegal oil bunkering and piracy in the Niger Delta.
The command also prepared four tactical operational bases to provide support for its personnel offshore during the operation codenamed ‘Exercise Quiet Waters.’
Commencing the operation on board the NNS Okpabana at the Onne coastline, near Port Harcourt, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Awwal Gambo said the exercise would last three days.
He said: “We are having 10 capital ships, two helicopters for the exercise. We also have the special boat service for the special forces of the Nigerian Navy. For the first time, we are going to have operational bases and four operating bases operating simultaneously.”
Gambo said the operation was designed to revalidate the capabilities of the Navy in line with the mandate of President Muhammadu Buhari to create an enabling environment for maritime business to flourish in the country.
He said: “The CNS Annual Sea Inspection is aimed at assessing the operational readiness of the NN fleet ranging from operational capabilities, logistics support and personnel training among other assessment criteria.
“On assumption of command, one of my cardinal priorities was to improve the operational efficiency of the NN’s fleet in terms of sea readiness and availability for operational deployments in order to speedily boost our capacity to meet our constitutional maritime obligations. This aligns with the Presidential mandate, for an enabling environment for maritime business to flourish.”
“It is pertinent to state that the inspection comes against the backdrop of the remarkable strides attained in the significant reduction in cases of piracy and sea robbery in our maritime environment and the need to sustain the strategic momentum in our fight against maritime crimes.
“However, given the dynamic nature of maritime threats, the exercise is also intended to revise our operational deployments to reinvigorate the strategic deterrence posture and influence of the fleet in the defence of the nation’s maritime environment.”
In his remarks, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral Sanusi Ibrahim, said the operation would provide an opportunity for naval operatives to align themselves with requirements of their jobs.
Credit: The Nation