Western Naval Command Intensifies Maritime Security, Launches Exercise Calm Water II

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File photo: Nigerian Navy

 

 

The Western Naval Command has flagged off Exercise CALM WATER II in order to intensify its fight against all forms of criminality in its Area of Responsibility spanning from Lagos up to 200 nautical miles of Nigeria’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

This is in furtherance to carrying out statutory responsibility of protecting the Nation’s maritime key infrastructures.

While flagging off the Exercise onboard NNS UNITY, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Oladele Daji, noted that the essence of the Exercise is in furtherance to the mission of the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ette Ibas, which is “to develop a naval force that is well trained, organized and highly motivated to discharge its constitutional roles professionally and efficiently for the defense of Nigeria in ensuring her economic prosperity.”

He noted that EXERCISE CALM WATER II is the  continuation of series of similar ongoing Exercises in Western Naval Command Area of Responsibilities and across the Operational Commands of the Nigerian Navy.

He remarked that the exercise will enhance its human capacity development hence the need for the participating ships to carry out series of exercises and maneuvers in the cause of the Exercise.

Some of the evolutions to be conducted include, Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS- Opposed Boarding), Fleet Maneuvers, Communication Drills, Medical Evacuation (MEDEVA), Lowering and Recovery of Boat among others.

He further mentioned that the Command had earlier engaged in series of exercises and operations like OPERATION JUNCTION RAIN, EXERCISE SWIFT RESPONSE, EXERCISE ATEGUN ALAFIA, EXERCISE OKUN ALAFIA I, TREASURE GUARD II among others. These Operations according to him have resulted in several arrests and subsequent handover of suspects/platforms used in committing illegalities to relevant law enforcement agencies for prosecution.

The FOC used the opportunity to reassure members of the public of the readiness of the Command to always provide necessary conducive environment for legitimate businesses in the waterways.

He therefore admonished members of the public to feel free to divulge credible information to units in their localities in order get rid of criminals in their localities.

A total of 8 ships, 2 helicopters and a detachment of NN Special Boat Service (SBS) are participating in the Exercise.

The ships include: NNS PROSPERITY, NNS EKUN, NNS NGURU, NNS EKULU, NNS OSUN, NNS OSE, TUG RIMA and TUG CDR UGWU as well as 2 NN helicopters and a detachment of NN SBS.

Nigerian Navy Arrests 10 Pirates Who Attacked Chinese Vessel

 

The Nigerian Navy has arrested 10 pirates who were reported to have attacked a Chinese Vessel, MV Hailufang (II).

This was disclosed in a statement issued by the Commander NNS BEECROFT, Commodore IA Shettima, on Monday.

According to Shettima, the vessel was attacked on May 15 by pirates of the coast of Cote de Viore.

Thereafter, they took control of the vessel which had 18 crew members comprising Chinese, Ghanaians and Ivorians, and directed it towards Nigerian Waters.

“The Nigerian Navy was alerted of the pirate attack and immediately, the Nigerian Navy Ship NGURU was dispatched to intercept the vessel.

“On interception of the vessel at about 140nm south of Lagos Fairway Buoy, the pirates refused to comply to the orders of the Navy Ship, hence the Nigerian Navy had to conduct an opposed boarding of the vessel. All ship crew were safely rescued, while the 10 pirates were arrested,” the NNS Commander stated.

He added that it is pertinent to note that the last five known or documented pirate attacks were outside of Nigerian waters, of which the Nigerian Navy has responded in the interest of Regional Security.

“This is aptly captured in the NN Total Spectrum Maritime Strategy ‘which covers Nigeria’s outermost maritime area of interest, encompassing the entire West African waters and the GoG,” Shettima said.

According to the Navy boss, this underscores the need for increased regional cooperation in terms of information sharing and further deepening of our response capability.

He noted that for instance, the latest rescue effort was bolstered by additional intel received from the Beninous Navy during the operation.

“This also emphasizes the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral IE Ibas commitment to ensuring maritime security within Nigeria’s maritime space and the Gulf of Guinea in general,” Shettima added.

Meanwhile, he used the opportunity to warn the criminal elements that engage in any acts of maritime crime within the Gulf of Guinea to desist, noting that the Nigerian Navy has the capability and will power to deal with such perpetrators.

Navy Arrests Seven Sri Lankans, Two Ghanaians For Illegal Activities

The Sri Lankans were paraded on Friday, January 3, 2020.

 

The Nigeria Navy has apprehended seven vessels and their crew members, including seven Sri Lankans, two Ghanaians, and over 50 Nigerians.

The Navy said its ship, Beecroft, made the arrests during the festive period for illegal activities on Nigerian waters.

The Commander, NNS Beecroft, Commodore Ibrahim Shettima on Friday said the cases are being handed to the relevant agencies for prosecution.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and officials of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) have also been invited to collect data that would aid them in carrying out their jobs.

MV Zebrugge was one of the seven vessels intercepted. The vessel, carrying seven Sri-Lankans, had petroleum products without proper documentation.

READ ALSO: Nigerian Navy Seizes Wooden Boat Laden With 144 Drums Of Petroleum Product

Meanwhile, the captain of the vessel, said he was only contracted to transport the product to Ghana.

MV Zeebrugge was one of the vessels apprehended.

 

Similarly, MT Jonko was arrested on December 21, with 11 Nigerians onboard and 1077 metric tonnes of crude oil.

Samples of the product have been collected from various compartments of the tanker for further analysis.

The Captain also claimed he is only a transporter meant to deliver the goods to Togo.

Central Naval Command Promises To Help Ensure Free And Fair Elections

Flag Officer Commanding, Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral Saidu Garba

 

The Central Naval Command has promised to help ensure that the general elections are peaceful and devoid of violence and ballot snatching.

Rear Admiral Saidu Garba, the Flag Officer Commanding, said this on Thursday during a visit to Governor Seriake Dickson at the Government House in Yenagoa.

He assured the governor that the Navy would play its part in ensuring law and order during the polls and sanction any erring personal accordingly.

“The Nigerian Navy has a mandate to ensure that there is peace in the country. At this particular time when we are going to have elections, we have been mandated to ensure that the elections go very free and fair,” Rear Admiral Garba said.

He added that, working with other security agencies, “the Nigerian Navy will ensure that the safe passage of election materials, sensitive materials, as well as INEC officials is guaranteed”.

Specifically, the Navy will provide boat escorts for the INEC staff and electoral materials, provide securities in parts of the creeks where elections are being conducted and escort the officials on the return journey.

Governor Dickson thanked the Navy for playing its role effectively in previous elections in the state.

“From my experience, I have been governor here for seven years, the Navy and its officers have always acquitted themselves creditably; and I have been through very tough elections where all kinds of people do all kinds of things,” the Governor said.

“I must say that our government is very impressed with the level of professionalism and honour displayed by Naval officers, who at different times have had to play different roles.”

The Central Naval Command (CNC) is one of the operations commands of the Nigerian Navy and its headquarters is in Yenagoa.

Nigerian Navy Intercepts Ship Smuggling Over 2,000 Bags Of Rice

Nigerian Navy has intercepted a ship smuggling a large haul of contraband rice into Nigeria from Cameroon.

The vessel carrying 2,860 bags of foreign rice was intercepted over the weekend by Naval personnel on board the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) victory along the Calabar waterway in Cross River State.

The Acting Commander of the NNS victory ship, Captain Babafemi Ajayi, while parading the five suspects alongside their seized boat in Calabar, the state capital said the arrests were made following an intelligence report.

READ ALSO: Two Killed, Several Injured As Windstorm Wreaks Havoc In Bauchi

“We discovered that the boat was hidden around Calabar channels with this consignments with the intention that when there is darkness, they will use smaller boats to evacuate the products into a warehouse.

“Following the tip-off, we positioned our men into that area. Fortunately, we saw the five men when they wanted to carry out the assignment on the boat. They were subsequently arrested. Further entry revealed their warehouse. When we got there, we saw more consignments, those that have already been offloaded.”

Captain Ajaji noted that in compliance with the extant rules, the bags of rice and the suspects will be handed over to the Nigeria Customs Service for further investigation and prosecution.

Nigerian Navy Arrests 16 Foreigners Over Illegal Oil Trade

Some of the arrested suspects

The Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Bonny, Rivers State on Friday arrested a ship for suspected illegal oil trade.

The ship had on board 16 foreigners who are Ukrainians. They were caught while operating on a vessel in Nigerian waters.

Commanding Officer, FOB Bonny, Captain Suleiman Olorundare, told Channels Television that the foreigners activities violated the law of cabotage and handed them over to security operatives for further investigations.

READ ALSO: Again, Suspected Pirates Attack Bayelsa Community

The arrested ship

 

They were caught while carrying drums suspected to be automated gas oil, without relevant documentation.

The ship was arrested in our Maritime environment. She was engaged in illegal trading activities that contravene our national law, especially the Cabotage law,” Olorundare said.

The 16 suspects were thereafter handed over to the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for further investigations and possible prosecution.

Meanwhile, the oil-rich Niger Delta region has continued to record increased criminal activities. An attack was carried out in Bayelsa State on Friday by suspected pirates. The attack occurred barely 24-hours after gunmen suspected to be pirates attacked a commercial boat en route Yenagoa, the state capital.

Two passengers including a pregnant woman were shot in the Thursday attack when the pirates attacked the boat travelling from Koluama to Yenagoa.

The Friday attack saw the suspected pirates attack a commercial boat at Okobotuo area, along Akassa-Yenagoa waterways.

The Commissioner of Police in the State, Don Awunah, who spoke with Channels Television blamed the attacks on increased insecurity on the waterway and the riverine topography of Bayelsa State.

EFCC Quizzes 10 Suspected Oil Thieves

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has commenced the investigation of 10 suspected oil thieves handed over to it on Thursday 1 February 2018 by the Nigerian Navy.

The EFCC’s Head on Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, in a statement on Friday, said the suspects were handed over to the EFCC alongside a vessel: MT Breakthrough by the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder Naval Base in Rumuolumeni, Port Harcourt, Rivers State for further investigation and prosecution.

According to the NNS Pathfinder’s Commander, Navy Captain Victor Choji, the suspects were arrested by the NNS Pathfinder’s patrol team deployed for anti-crude oil theft and illegal bunkering operations around Dawes Island, Port Harcourt.

The oil vessel: MT Breakthrough laden with an estimated 4,757 metric tons of products suspected to be crude oil.

The vessel, laden with an estimated 4,757 metric tons of products suspected to be crude oil, while under surveillance, was discovered to have switched off its Automatic Identification System (AIS) to evade surveillance in order to carry out an economic crime with the products onboard.

The suspects include Kolawole A Ezekiel;  Olisa Basil Chukwutem; Friday Utibe; Emi Azubike; Oriyomi Olatunji;  Ushiagwu Simon;  Salihu Oricha Jimoh; Onche      John, Onovuakpo John and  Ubong Brendan, would soon be charged to court when investigations are concluded.

Operation Octopus Grip Uncovers Illegal Oil Refinery In Warri

The phase two of Operation Octopus Grip which was recently flagged off by the Nigerian Navy in Warri, Delta State has uncovered some illegal oil operations in the region.

Rear Admiral Abubakar Bello Alhassan, the flag officer commanding Central  Naval Command says the Navy is ever ready to combat criminals hell-bent on jeopardizing the nations economic interest in the oil-rich region.

The operation, on Thursday, discovered about 30 hectares of land used for illegal refineries at the Bennet Island in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.

READ ALSO: Navy-Flags-Off-Operation-Octopus-Grip-In-Delta

The operation which was carried out using eleven gunboats, naval surveillance helicopters, and a special naval squad is aimed at consolidating on the successes of the “Operation Rivers Sweep” which was launched by the command in January 2017.

Alhassan said the illegal refinery camp is believed to have been re-established two weeks after it was destroyed. Various items like drums, pipes, polluted environment, storage facilities were discovered at the camp.

Commander NNS Delta, Commodore Ibrahim Dewu said the illegal refiners stole the camp from an abandoned wellhead and the illegal camp has an interconnection of pipelines from all oil companies passing through Bennet Island.

FOC Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral Abubakar Bello Alhassan speaking concerning the illegal operation at the Bennet Island said some arrests have been made and the suspects handed over to the EFCC.

“We have made some arrests and we have handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,” he said.

Exercise Octopus Grip was flagged off in November 2017 with a sea exercise in the first phase.

Navy Clamps Down On Oil Thieves In Rivers

Nigerian Navy Resumes 'Exercise Eagle Eye' To Tighten Sea SecurityThe Nigerian Navy has asked those who are still engaged in illegal bunkering and refining of petroleum to rather wait for the Federal Government’s blueprint for modular refineries, otherwise would continuously come under the heavy weight of the law.

This was according to the commander of the Nigerian Navy Shipyard Pathfinder, Commodore Samson Bura during a Swamp Boggy Operation on an illegal refining site at Onne axis in Rivers State.

The operation involved the destruction of tanks and thousands of liters of illegally refined products.

The Navy also impounded wooden boats abandoned by the operators and made over 23 arrests in the operations along Eagle Island axis in the state.

Mr Bura said the Navy will continue to make life unbearable for oil thieves in the Niger Delta.

“We are here to destroy this illegal dump site, it appears the place had been revived after a previous operation, so this time we are using the Swamp Boggy to crush the tanks containing suspected petroleum products. We will continue to make life unbearable for these people. Those who are interested in these activities should wait for the Federal Government’s proposal for modular refineries.”

Nigerian Navy To Boost Capacity With 14 Assault Boats

Nigerian Navy To Boost Capacity With 14 Assault BoatsThe Nigerian Navy has revealed plans to acquire 14 assault boats from South Africa, to boost its capacity building efforts in tackling maritime crimes.

The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, made the disclosure during an interview with Channels Television in South Africa.

He hinted that the acquisition also involved a phase where part of the construction would be completed in Nigeria.

“The deal is such that the production will start here (in South Africa) and later be transferred to the Naval Dockyard in Lagos.

“We are also going to attach our personnel to the company during the process and this is to build capacity and transfer technology,” the Naval Chief said.

He stressed that maritime crimes are transnational in character, noting that “what happens to one coastal nation cannot be isolated from the other”.

Vice Admiral Ibas said Nigeria has been able to reduce the cases of piracy to the barest minimum, while efforts are ongoing to tackle human and drug trafficking.

“In the case of piracy, I think we have reduced the incidences to the barest minimum and where they take place, we ensure that we are at the scene of the incident before damage is done to seafarers.

“With respect to human and drug trafficking, we are working closely with other national maritime law enforcement agencies to ensure that we are able to contain the menace,” he said.

The Chief of Naval Staff has been attending a string of meetings and events in South Africa on the invitation of his counterpart in the country.

 

Navy Seize N70m Worth Of Stolen Diesel, Arrest 12 Suspects

Nigerian Navy Resumes 'Exercise Eagle Eye' To Tighten Sea SecurityThe Nigerian Navy says it has impounded a vessel and two large wooden boats both transporting 240,000 litres of stolen diesel, worth 70 million Naira.

The Commander of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) pathfinder, (Port Harcourt), Commodore William Kayoda, disclosed this to newsmen in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.

Kayoda the confirmed that a total of 12 suspects were arrested on board the vessel and boats.

He said the seizure was part of the ongoing clampdown on perpetrators of oil theft, piracy and pipeline vandalism in the maritime domain in ivers and its environs.

“In continuation of our clampdown on activities of oil thieves, troops of NNS pathfinder impounded one vessel MV Omisan, loaded with 120,000 litres of petroleum product suspected to be illegally refined diesel.

“Additionally, two very large wooden barges known as Cotonou boats were equally impounded while carrying about 120,000 litres of stolen diesel in combined capacity.

“Twelve suspects were arrested on board the vessel and boats and handed over to the economic and financial crimes commission (EFCC) for further investigation and possible prosecution,” he said.

The commander also said the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Adm. Ibok-Ete Ibas, had given directives to end illegal bunkering within the shortest possible time.

He expressed optimism that the mandate of the CNS and current strategies adopted would drastically reduce incessant attacks on oil and gas installations in the Niger Delta.

According to him, the fight against oil theft and pipeline vandalism was a collective responsibility of all Nigerians to ensure that businesses and commerce thrived in the country.

“The Nigerian Navy is ever committed and would never tolerate criminality on the waterways, and so, criminals must have a rethink and engage themselves in legitimate businesses.

“Those who attack our national assets and carry out illegalities on our maritime environment must stop – as they would soon be caught and prosecuted,” he warned.

Kayoda said that troops of NNS pathfinder would continue to carry out 24-hour patrol of the waterways and creeks, while maintaining presence at flash points.

He then urged the public to provide the navy with timely information that would lead to the arrest of criminals and assured them that their identities would be kept confidential.

A Senior Detective of the EFCC, Mr Musa Gidado, who received the suspected oil thieves, said the commission would conduct thorough investigation on the matter.

Furthermore, Gidado added that the suspects would be arraigned if found culpable of the allegations against them.

Nigerian Navy Destroys 42 Illegal Refineries In Delta

Illegal Refineries, Nigerian Navy, Delta, Operation River SweepThe Nigerian Navy has launched Operation River Sweep as part of measures to curtail the activities of crude oil thieves, operators of illegal refineries and other maritime related crimes in the Niger Delta region.

The Flag Officer Commanding, Rear Admiral Mohammed Sanni Garba, said that the operation has led to the destruction of illegal refineries, arrests of criminal elements, recovery of speed boats and stolen crude in the region.

Channels Television crew visited the creeks and found some suspected metallic drums of crude oil and gallons at the site of a camp at Igoniogbene and Asiagbene, both in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State.

Addressing reporters after the operation, Rear Admiral Garba said that Operation River Sweep II was activated as part of measures to further degrade and dislodge the criminal elements in the maritime domain.

He said that the operation started at about a week earlier and had led to the arrest of suspected oil thieves and recovery of so many other items.

42 Illegal Refineries

“I am pleased to announce that after over a week of persistent crack down on the operators of these illegalities, our team has so far discovered and destroyed a total of 42 illegal refining camps.

“Accordingly, about 3,000 Metric Tonnes (MT) of suspected stolen crude oil and 1,000 MT of product suspected to be illegally refined AGO were destroyed in the operation in line with extant regulation.

“Also 40 Cotonou boats laden with suspected stolen crude were set ablaze with nine speed boats and 14 pumping machines recovered during the course of the operation.

“The operation also led to (various) arrests including three high profile members of the criminals involved in pipeline vandalism.

“Some have been interrogated and handed over to the DIA, NPF and DSS as appropriate for further investigation and possible prosecution,” the FOC revealed.

The Navy restated that it remained committed in ensuring freedom of the waterways and the seas, in order to enhance legitimate and favourable balance of trade towards Nigeria’s economic prosperity and the general well-being of its people.