The Nigerian Navy has arrested five suspected oil thieves during their annual sea exercise code named exercise ‘Eagle Eye’.
The Navy also destroyed four illegal refineries set up at Ijawkiri in Rivers state during the operation.
In addition, the naval team destroyed five boats laden with products suspected to be crude oil, while another two barges suspected to contain crude oil, were handed over to the Economic And Finical Crimes Commission (EFCC), along-side the owners for prosecution.
The primary duty of the Nigerian Navy is to safeguard the nation’s waterways and that task has become more imperative in the face of attacks on oil facilities and oil bunkering in the Niger Delta region.
At the Onne federal terminal, the Chief of Defense Staff, General Gabriel Olonishakin, flagged off the ‘eagle eye’ operation, aimed at enhancing maritime security in Nigerian territorial waters.
According to him, eight naval patrol ships participated in the exercise as they began their inspection from Onne to bonny into the deep waters.
Tactical commander, operation eagle eye, Rear Admiral Muhammed Garba, explained that aside from patrolling critical oil infrastructure, the team demonstrated their readiness to tackle any threat by showing their prowess in various aspects of the tactical operation.
It was after the exercise that the Commander, Nigerian Navy ship pathfinder, Commodore Obi Egbuchulam, handed over two suspected oil thieves and two barges of suspected crude to the EFCC.
This is not the first of initiatives carried out to bring an end to sea crime in the Niger-Delta and Gulf of Guinea regions.
In November, ‘Exercise Sharkbite’, was also implemented to also tighten security around choke points in the maritime environment.
However, as the exercise ‘eagle eye‘ draws to a close it is expected that the lessons learnt would not only be applied by the naval personal, but would also yield positive results in the protection of Nigerian water ways both within the country and in deep sea areas.