THE Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete-Ibas, has said that maritime crime has reduced in the Niger Delta region due to the sustained effort of the Nigerian Navy in policing the maritime domain.
Ete-Ibas who said this in Calabar during the 2016 Nigerian Navy Ceremonial Sunset Ball, vowed that the battle to rid the maritime domain of economic saboteurs will be heightened.
Represented by the Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral James Oluwole, the CNS said the reduction was due to increased surveillance of the maritime domain.
He said, there has been a drastic reduction in oil theft and illegal oil bunkering, sea piracy and other forms of illegalities along the waterways.
He said the ceremonial Sunset and 2016 Ball served as an opportunity for the Navy to recognize its serving and retired personnel for the development of the service as well as ensuring safe and secure maritime environment.
He said, “Since the establishment of the Nigerian Navy in 1956, the story has been that of success in spite of the numerous challenges and the evolving security environment.
“The Nigerian Navy must improve on its fighting capability and operational effectiveness. I am glad to announce that since I assume office as the CNS, some milestones have been achieved especially in the area of fleet re-capitalization which entails acquisition of platforms from friendly countries and local constructions.
“The Nigerian Navy recently took delivery of two offshore patrol vessels, NNS Centenary and NNS Unity; build in China and six boats from Sri Lanka.”
Ibas pointed out that the training of naval personnel would be continuous, adding that the training was needed to build the capacity and intellectuals to move the navy forward.