The Nigerian Navy has launched 25 Epenal Security boats as part of measures to stem the theft of crude oil in the Niger Delta.
The boats, named after the manufacturer – Epenal Group – were built in Nigeria using Nigerian experts and according to globally accepted maritime security standard.
Governor Nyesom Wike, who was at the launch held at the Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS Pathfinder, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, commended the naval high command for “strengthening the security architecture of the waterways”.
Wike said that security of the waterways would accelerate development in the Niger Delta, noting that the construction of the boats within the State created job opportunities and the improvement of the capacity of Nigerian ship manufacturers.
He said: “the Rivers State Government is happy with the Naval High Command for deploying these boats to this region. It will help in reducing oil theft and this will in turn have a positive impact on our national economy”.
According to the Governor, the State will provide logistics support to the Navy to enhance the operation of the 25 Epenal Security Boats acquired for NNS Pathfinder.
“These boats will also check violent crimes in the creeks and improve the standard of living of our people. The Rivers State Government will provide logistics support in the operation of the boats”, said Wike.
In his remarks, the Chief of Defense Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin said “the decision of the Nigerian Navy to commission an indigenous company to produce these boats will develop the required local capacity for the manufacture of defense equipment”.
He said the country was passing through challenging times in terms of security management, noting that the deployment of the additional 25 boats will help the navy.
Also speaking, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-ete Ibas said “it is the first time security boats are being produced locally. The production is half the cost of importing these security boats”.
He said that the boats have the required security features to deter criminals on the nation’s waterways.
The Managing Director of Epenal Group, Mr. Lele Aaron said “it is in the best interest of the country to encourage local ship manufacturers for the creation of jobs and capacity”.