20 December 2015, Lagos – In line with its zero tolerance for maritime illegalities on the nation’s waterways, the Nigerian Navy (NN), yesterday said it has arrested over 20 vessels and their crew, as well as destroyed 149 illegal refineries.
The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ette Ibas, made the disclosure Saturday at the flag-off ceremony of Exercise Treasure Guard, a sea exercise aimed at maintaining professionalism and improving personnel capability.
He said the achievements of the Navy from July 15, 2015 till date included the destruction of 149 illegal refineries, 19 barges, 75 wooden boats and 93 auxiliary equipment.
The sea exercise, which was flagged off by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, saw the navy deploying two helicopters and 14 ships including NNS Thunder, NNS Okpabana, NNS Centenary, NNS Prosperity, NNS Badagry, NNS Ologbo, NNS Benin, NNS Andoni and NNS Sagbama, among others.
In his speech, the CNS who recounted the achievements of the navy said upon assumption of office he promulgated his strategic directives 2015-1 with emphasis on maintaining zero tolerance for illegalities within the nation’s maritime environment.
He said, “The NN has therefore been focusing on various operations aimed at combating the myriads of criminalities and illegal activities in the nation’s maritime domain.
“From July 15 to date, the NN has arrested 20 vessels and their crew. Furthermore, over 149 illegal oil refineries, 19 barges, 75 large wooden boats and 93 auxiliary equipment were destroyed within the same period.
“Under the period reviewed, the NN has also been more aggressive in her patrol. She had thus been deploying at least five ships on a daily basis to sea to carry out routine patrols. Additionally, there are at least 65 boats of various sizes patrolling numerous rivers and creeks daily.
“The NN patrol operations cover crude oil theft and anti-illegal bunkering, anti-kidnapping and anti-hostage taking, anti-illegal fishing and anti-marine pollution as well as maritime safety and administration operations. The NN addresses these patrols to interdicting, arresting and recovering a considerable number of vessels, equipment as well as subversives persons. These efforts have put crude oil thieves on the defensive”, he said.
Ibas added, “Furthermore, as part of efforts to maintain professionalism and improve personnel capability, sea exercises such as this one are organised periodically. Some of the exercises involve navies of friendly foreign countries while the others are purely carried out by the NN.”
Also speaking, the CDS, General Gabriel Olonisakin, who was the special guest of honour, said the sea exercise was a necessity for the navy because it was the only way to ascertain the operational state of the force.
He said, “Suffice to say that such exercises are needed to ensure that NN ships are in optimal working capacity to contain the various criminal activities in the Nigerian maritime environment This shows that the NN has at its very heart to improve on its combat position within the limits of available resources and combat myriads of criminalities and illegalities on the nation’s maritime domain.”
- This Day