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Nigerian Navy Makes Significant Strides Against Oil Theft

By Martha Obi, Abuja

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The Nigerian Navy, NN, says it has made significant strides in the fight against Crude Oil Theft under the auspices of OPERATION DELTA SANITY which was re-launched in January 2024.

The Director Policy and Plans, Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral Joseph Akpan disclosed this while briefing Journalists in Abuja on the NN 68th Anniversary Celebrations 2024, scheduled to hold from Friday, 24 May to Saturday, 1 June 2024 in Lagos State, South West, Nigeria.

According to him, this can only be put in perspective by reviewing the noble achievements of the current Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, which has attained the highest state of operational readiness in the discharge of its constitutional roles.

Rear Admiral Akpan said that “in the 9 months of its existence, the operation has led to the arrest of various suspects and vessels involved in COT.”

Some of these vessels include MT KALI, MT SWEET HARBOUR SPIRIT, MT SAISNIL, MV TOKITO, MT VINILLARIS and MT SWEET MIRI, among others. This has impacted positively on Nigeria’s crude oil production. For instance, OPEC Records for the month of April 2024 state that Nigeria’s Crude Oil Exports rose to #1.28m bpd in April from #1.23m bpd in March. This is in line with the President’s directive to eradicate COT in order to ramp up Nigeria’s oil production and exports,” he explained.

Rear Admiral Akpan noted that in line with its TOTAL SPECTRUM MARITIME STRATEGY, the Navy has continued to support land operations in all the Geo-political Zones.

He stressed that the Navy has also provide all year-round situation awareness of Nigeria’s maritime domain extending to the limits of the Exclusive Economic Zone through its Maritime Domain Awareness Facilities which enabled early detection and swift response to incidences within the maritime environment.

This has ensured that Nigeria maintained its zero piracy status in the International Maritime Bureau piracy rating,” he said.

 

Rear Admiral Akpan noted that in terms of fleet renewal, the Navy has taken delivery of various platforms which has supported its Anti-piracy, Ant-COT, Anti-IUU and Anti-illegal drug trafficking among others. Notably, it has taken delivery of its second offshore survey vessel, 2 x 32m FPBs, and 2 x Helicopters.

The Navy is also expected to take delivery of 2 x 76m OPVs from Turkey later in the year. In the area of infrastructure, It has established a composite operations Base in Enugu State to curtail the prevailing insecurities in the SE and NC Regions.

Additionally, the Naval Training Command was relocated to Eleme in Rivers State.

In its place, the Navy has established the International Maritime Institute of Nigeria.

The Institute will serve as a strategic maritime think-tank for Nigeria thereby contributing effectively to global maritime discourse to shape the future of sea power and its application.

Aware of the need to collaborate with other maritime security agencies such as NIMASA, NPA, NDLEA, NOSDRA, NEMA as well as foreign partners, the Navy has staged and participated in several local and international exercises and operations. Some of these include EX CROCODILE LIFT/AFRICAN GRANDE AFRICA NEMO, EX SEA GUARDIAN, EX NCHEKWA OSHIMIRI, OP WATER GUARD, OP SWIFT RESPONSE and EX OBANGAME EXPRESS 2024,” Rear Admiral Akpan said.

According to him, the Navy 68th Anniversary Celebration, often referred to as ‘Navy Week’, is an annual event held to commemorate the establishment of the NN as an arm of force on 1 June 1956.

Rear Admiral Akpan said; “Today, the Nigerian Navy has grown from its humble beginning with a handful of coastal boats into a force to be reckoned with, not only in the West African Sub-region, but also in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) and indeed the entire sub-Saharan Africa.

“Consequently, this Navy Week Celebration, as with others in the past, also serve as a score-card of the NN’s performance in the service of our dear nation.

He said that “the Navy is proud to celebrate this year’s Navy Week as he highlighted the key activities for the event.”

The Special Juma’at Prayers will holds on Friday, 24 May 2024 and the Interdenominational Church Service holds on Sunday, 26 May 24 at the Central Mosque and the Queen of Martyr Catholic Church Mogadishu Cantonment respectively.

Medical Rhapsodies and Naval Officers’ Wives Association Activities (NOWA) will hold simultaneously on Monday, 27 May 2024 in some NN host communities across Commands.

On Wednesday, 29th May, there would be an ice-breaker at Eko Hotel and Suites Lagos.

The highpoint of this year’s celebration will be the flag-off of the Regional Maritime Exercise and the International Maritime Conference by the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu who will be the Special Guest of Honour. The REMEX, which is scheduled to hold from Thursday, 30 May – Saturday, 1 June 2024, is an international maritime sea exercise involving navies from Africa, Europe, Asia, North and South America.

The Navy will contribute 18 platforms comprising capital ships, boats and helicopters.

Some of the foreign naval ships participating include; Brazilian Navy Ship APA, Cameroonian Navy Ship DIPIKAR, Peoples Liberation Army Navy Ship XU CHANG, French Navy Ship OSV COMMANDANT BIROT, Ghana Navy Ship CHEMLE, United States Ship HERSHEL WOODY WILLIAMS.

The IMC will take place from 30th– 31st May at the Naval Dockyard, Victoria Island Lagos. The IMC aims to catalyse effective cooperation on maritime security across Africa as a key driver for unlocking the continent’s immense Blue Economy potential in line with the vision of the 2050 African Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIMS). Its theme is “Promoting the Blue Economy in Africa through International Cooperation on Maritime Security” will feature the presentation of 2 topical papers.

The Conference will host delegations from about 21 African countries, 17 non-African countries and 13 International/regional organisations. Notably, the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the French Atlantic Fleet, the Deputy Commander of the Chinese Navy and high- powered delegations from the United Kingdom, United States as well as some African and European Union countries will be in attendance.

During the occasion, the President and C-in -C will also commission 3 newly acquired ships and 2 helicopters as well as declare open the International Maritime Exhibition in which international and local maritime security related companies will show case their products and services.

On the side line, the Meeting of Gulf of Guinea Heads of Navies and Coast Guards will take place on 31st May.

The series of activities marking the Navy Week Celebration will be rounded off on 1st June, 2024 with the commissioning of the International Maritime Institute of Nigeria (IMION) and the Ceremonial Sunset/ Reunion Dinner at NNS QUORRA Apapa and Naval Dockyard Limited Victoria Island respectively.

 

 

Mercy Chukwudiebere

 

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