Illegalities in Nigerian waters: Navy arrests 38 vessels

Nigerian-navy-sbs-participate-in-a-joint-sea-exercise-with-American-seamen24 May 2014, Lagos – Not less than 38 vessels have been arrested by the Nigerian Navy (NN) over their alleged involvement in illegalities in Nigerian territorial waters.

The figure represents the total number of vessels arrested from January 2014 to date.

These were disclosed by the Chief of Policy and Plans at the Naval Headquarters, Rear Admiral Ameen Ikioda.

Out of the figure, he revealed that eight of the vessels belonged to Chinese companies and were impounded for illegal fishing activities in Nigerian waters.
Ikioda explained that NN had been unrelenting in its operations to protect the nation’s maritime environment against all forms of threats.

He stated that NN constantly carries out what he called “surveillance and patrol” of the maritime areas with available surveillance systems, ships and helicopter.

According to him, the operations were specifically aimed at checking crude oil theft, illegal bunkering, piracy and sea robbery and illegal fishing. The authorities were encouraged by the success recorded so far.

He said that naval personnel were also involved in internal security operations in some states, including Adamawa, Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau and Yobe.

For Ikioda, the recapitalisation of the naval fleet was top priority in the consideration of the authorities. A double-pronged strategy toward achieving the objective had been adopted.

He explained that NN had acquired some ships from friendly countries to Nigeria, while the force was complementing the effort with local construction of ships.

His words: “In this regard, the United States Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin was transferred to the Nigerian Navy on May 7, 2014 at Charlestone, South Carolina. The ship which has been renamed NNS OKPABANA is expected to sail from the United States in the third quarter of the year to join the naval fleet.

“In the same vein, the navy has acquired 2×1800-tonne Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) on order from China. One of the OPVs, NNS CENTENARY, is expected to join the fleet before the end of this year.”

Ikioda said that about 30 per cent of the OPVs would be constructed in the Naval Shipyard in Port Harcourt in partnership with the shipbuilding yard in China.

He also said that “5xK-47″ boats were currently under construction in the Netherlands and would also join naval fleet before the end of the year.
Ikioda said activities lined up for the anniversary in the five commands, include “special” jumat prayers, church service, medical rhapsody and community relations in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Calabar.


– John Iwori, This Day

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