Navy Chief Assesses Officers’ Readiness To Safeguard Waterways

navy, waterwaysAs part of efforts to assess the professionalism and preparedness of the Nigerian Navy to adequately protect the nation’s waterways, the Chief Of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, is in Yenagoa for an inspection exercise.

During his visit to the Central Naval Command, he is expected to assess the quality of equipment belonging to the force and evaluate the professionalism of the officers.

The navy chief, who commissioned the gymnastics and relaxation centre of the Naval central command in Yenagoa and inspected other projects, was also hosted by the Deputy Governor of the State, Rear Admiral John Jonah, at the government house.

While receiving Mr Ibas at the Government House, Yenagoa, Mr Jonah called for increased collaboration and support for the Nigerian Navy, to enable the agency effectively police the Niger Delta region and the Nation’s territorial waters.

He noted that, the call is imperative in view of the increasing level of sophistication, with which the criminal elements carry out their nefarious activities in the maritime environment of the country.

The deputy governor, who described the Nigerian Navy as the only national establishment that has the responsibility, resources and training to keep the maritime space safe, urged all stakeholders to give legitimate support to the agency’s fight against crude oil theft, piracy and other crimes in the waterways.

He also expressed full appreciation to the Nigerian Navy for immortalizing Late Rear Admiral Nelson Bossman Soroh, by naming one of its formations, NNS Soroh, after him.

Mr Jonah said the gesture would go a long way in motivating serving naval personnel, to give their best in serving the nation.

“Let me also use this opportunity to publicly commend the Nigerian Navy for its efforts to immortalise one of our heroes, Rear Admiral Nelson Bossman Soroh, who gave his best, in serving our country.

“I thank you all for recognizing his contributions by naming a base, NNS Soroh.

He then called on the Navy to increase its presence in the state, by deploying more mobile stations and machinery to enhance its operations in Bayelsa, which he described as the most riverine state in the entire country.

He believes that Bayelsa State needs more of those mobile stations than other areas, because according to him, it is more riverine than any other state.

Referring to the state as the “centre of gravity”, he appealed for special attention.

“I know it is not easy to have those mobile platforms. But, let’s make sure that, we continue to mount pressure on the management of the system.

The Chief of Naval Staff, told journalists that his visit to the state was in continuation of an ongoing nationwide inspection tour of naval base, equipment and establishments.

He also expressed gratitude to the state government for the donation of a 100-hectare land and gunboats to the Nigerian Navy.

Vice Admiral Ibas promised to make good use of the donations and assured that the Navy would be more proactive in its approach to curbing criminality in the nation’s maritime environment.

He said, “I want to thank you for the support you have provided the Nigerian Navy, since our arrival here both in terms of logistics and welfare support to our bases.

“You are aware, that we have extended our bases and units to create mobile stations, which enables us to be closer to the people and fully cover the flash-points that we have identified.

“We are also in the process of creating additional choke points.”

He expressed hopes that once those areas are well manned and policed, “we will be able to reduce criminality,”.

Navy Intercepts Boats Carrying Suspected Refined Automotive Gas Oil

Navy-arrest-oil-thievesNigerian Navy has intercepted two Sea Going Cotonou boats with 10 crew members, carrying 195 metric tonnes of suspected illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO).

Commanding officer of the Nigerian Navy Ship Delta (NNS Delta), Commodore Raimi Mohammed, who addressed reporters at the base’s headquarter in Warri, Delta State, restated the position of the Central Naval Command to rid the maritime environment of oil vandals, kidnapping and other nefarious activities.

Commodore Mohammed also debunked allegations of a Joint Task Force ban on the use of 200 horse power engine boats by individuals.

The NNS Delta also arrested a suspected kidnapper at the Ndoro camp in Bayelsa State.

Navy intercepts stolen refined oil
Tanks with refined Automotive Gas Oil

Commodore Mohammed said: “The patrol team of NNS Delta on April 23 arrested the boats at Forcados entrance going to sea with product totalling over 150 metric tonnes suspected to be illegally refined AGO”.

On the increase in kidnap cases, he also expressed worries that persons previously involved in crude oil theft and other illegal oil activities had switched over to kidnapping.

“Because they are feeling the heat of our patrol and operations, they are abandoning it and going to something else,” he stated.

He told Channels Television that the Navy had started operations against hijackers and had intensified patrols in areas of operations to tackle oil pipeline vandals in line with the directive of the Chief of Naval Staff.

Navy Promises To Ensure Safe Waters During Yuletide

navyThe Nigerian Navy says it remains committed to the safety of the nation’s waters during and after the Yuletide.

The Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Ibok-ete Ibas, said this at the end of the annual inspection exercise usually organized by the Navy, code-named ‘Operation Treasure Guard’, to make officers fit and combat ready for its operations.

The 3-day rigorous exercise on sea and the shores was witnessed by the Chief of Defence Staff, observers from the Defence Headquarters, as well as all Flag Officers leading their various ships.

The exercise kicked off from the Nigerian Naval base in Onne, after being declared open by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonishakin, with participating ships on guard and covered from the Calabar Waters East to the Delta regions in the central, the Gulf of Guinea waters towards the Atlantic in the Western Region.

The Chief of Defence staff urged the Nigerian Navy to be more vigilant and committed to securing the wealth of the nation on the sea and shores.

He commended the Navy for the acquisition of more ships, especially for the 30 most recent ones already in Nigeria from Sri Lanka.

The Naval Chief said that the Nigerian Navy in 2016 would not relent in policing the nation’s common wealth along the maritime domain, as presently, 139 illegal bunkeries have been destroyed between July 2015 till date.

While commending the government for its contributions, the Naval Chief made a case for more funding for the Navy in the coming year.

The Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Naval Command, said that the annual end of the year Navy sea exercise is ‎designed to work up the ships and personnel, in line with the Nigerian Navy doctrine of operations.

A total of 14 ships, covering the Eastern, Western and Central Naval Command, participated in the exercise.

Navy Hands Over Seized Vessel To EFCC

navyThe Nigerian Navy Central Naval Command has handed over vessel OMS Ogo and her 8-member crew to officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for prosecution.

Speaking during the brief ceremony at the Nigerian Navy ship nns Delta base in Warri, Delta State, Flag Officer Commanding, Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman, said the Navy did a thorough investigation on the vessel, which was arrested for alleged illegal oil bunkering activities at Nkantu Camp by Chanomi Creek.

Belgian ship arrested for oil theft in Bayelsa

The Nigerian Navy has confirmed the arrest of a Belgian ship, MT St Vanessa and her 15 member crew for alleged oil theft in Bayelsa.

The navy said the ship was arrested off the Brass/Akassa coast in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa.

Parading the crew members before journalists in Yenagoa, the Flag Officer, Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral Johnson Olutoyin, said the vessel had 15 crew members on board.

Rear Admiral Olutoyin said the crew comprising six Romanians and nine Philippines, was intercepted on Tuesday by men of NNS Zaria (a naval ship) stationed at Brass.

He said between June 5 and June 18, the command’s Regional Maritime Domain Awareness Centres (RMAC) at the coastline, spotted the vessel loitering aimlessly off the Akassa/Brass area, notorious for illegal bunkering and crude oil theft.

“The MT St Vanessa, was reported to have departed Lome Port in June 5  and arrived at Akassa area on June 6 without any authority from Nigerian Ports Authority,  NIMASA or the Nigerian Navy, to enable it operate on the Nigerian territorial waters.”

Olutoyin said that “for about 10 days, the vessel kept moving between a location of 100 nautical miles off Brass/Akassa to another location about 10 nautical miles off Brass/Akassa.

“The vessel moves towards Brass/Akassa in the night and moves back into the deep ocean in the hours of the day as indicated on the RMAC print out attached.

“Consequent upon these observations, the vessel was deemed as a vessel of interest and a naval ship, NNS Zaria, was dispatched to intercept and arrest her.

“On Tuesday, June 19, 2012, at about 1520, NNS ZARIA intercepted the vessel and interrogated her. As the vessel could not give any reason for her suspicious movement in our waters, the naval ship intimated her she was under arrest.”

According to the naval officer, the Belgian ship tried to escape arrest but the Nigerian naval ship caught up with it. “MT St Vanessa blatantly refused the arrest and instead decided to speed off. NNS ZARIA commenced a hot pursuit and after about three hours, was eventually able to effect the arrest of the vessel” Rear Admiral Olutoyin.

“The vessel was subsequently made to anchor off Brass from where she was escorted by NNS Thunder to Bonny anchorage for further investigation” he added.

Preliminary investigation by the naval authority confirmed that MT St Vanessa was directed by her owners to roam about the waters off Akassa without clear details of the specific task to perform therein, an indication the vessel was preparing to engage in illegal activities.

Rear Admiral Olutoyin noted that in line with the Federal Government directives for crude oil theft to be stamped out of the nation’s waters, the Nigerian Navy will continue to maintain zero tolerance to all such activities in the nation’s maritime domain.

He advised vessels without proper clearance and documentation for their operations or activities in the Nigerian territorial waters to stay away or risk being impounded and handed over to the appropriate agencies for prosecution.

He also urged foreigners not to be lured into crude oil theft business in their own interest and reassured those willing to engage in legitimate businesses of their security.

This is the first major breakthrough the Central Naval Command has recorded since its establishment in Bayelsa state early in the year.