Determined to continue to dominate and overpower criminal elements in the nation’s Maritime space and neutralize the activities of economic sabotuers on oil and other maritime assets, the Nigerian Navy has embarked on massive acquisition of Inshore patrol crafts, Rigid Inflatable multi purpose boats while also pursuing the construction of a third Seaward Defence boat.
This is just as the anti piracy battle of the Navy in the last three years, saw the rate of pirate attacks which was 72.86 per cent in 2016 progressively decreased in subsequent years resulting in zero piracy attacks in the months of May, June, September, October and November 2019, when no piracy related incident occurred in the nation’s Maritime domain.
This disclosures were made by the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete-Ekwe Ibas at a media briefing to commence the 64th anniversary celebration of the Nigerian Navy.
Speaking through the Chief of Policy and Plans, Rear Admiral Ifeola Mohammed, the CNS said “In the last five years, the Nkgerian Navy acquired 3 capital ships. These are NNS UNITY (an OPV), a new survey vessel and a Landing Ship Tank (LST). The survey vessel is expected to join the fleet before the end of the year while the LST would join in 2021.
“Furthermore, 11 River Town Class boats were acquired. Out of these, 7 have been inducted into the NN fleet namely NNS Nguru, Shiroro, Ekulu, Ose, Gongola, Calabar and Osun, while 4 more are programmed to join the fleet later this year.
“Additionally, in the last 5 years, the NN also invested in local content development through the local construction of Seaward Defence Boats (SDB).
‘The second locally built SDB, NNS Karaduwa was commissioned in 2016 while her sister ship, a third locally built SDB is programmed to join the Service this year.
“In an effort to boost operations, 12 Manta Class boats and Inshore Patrol Craft were acquired and will be inducted into the fleet, this year.
“For Riverine Operations, the Service took delivery of 148 River Patrol boats, with another 24 expected in the later part of 2020.
“Thirty six Rigid Inflatable Boats were also procured, with another batch of 56 programmed for delivery in 2020 ending.
“The renewed emphasis on fleet renewal was further underscored with the acquisition of 3 Whaler boats that are also expected to join the fleet this year.
“Other acquisitions are the acquisition and deployment of 11 houseboats for the Choke Point Management and Control operations. One houseboat is also expected to be deployed in 2020.
“One tug boat has been inducted into the Service while 2 others are expected to join the fleet in 2020. Similarly, one water barge and one fuel barge are expected in 2020.
“The Navy equally took delivery of a total of 168 outboard engines with requisite spares, and as part of the Ministry of Defence’s critical intervention, the Navy just took delivery of one Leonardo AW139 helicopter and is currently being inducted, he said.
Emphasizing on the successes achieved in tackling piracy, the CNS said, “The Navy instituted dedicated operations and initiatives to enhance its policing capability towards the peaceful use of the nation’s maritime environment and these initiatives have engendered several recorded successes in the operations of the bases.
“For instance, 2016 which recorded the highest piracy attacks in the past 5 years recorded 70 incidents of piracy attacks. Out of these, 51 were successful while 19 were unsuccessful.
“Also, in 2017, there were 48 piracy related cases out of which 27 were successful while in 2018, there were 36 reported cases and only 9 successful.
“Furthermore, in 2019, 21 piracy related cases were reported and only 7 of these attacks were successful. As at 20 May 2020, there were 9 pirate attacks of which only 2 were successful and 7 unsuccessful
“The success rate of pirate attacks which was 72.86 per cent in 2016 decreased to 56.25 per cent in 2017. However, in 2018, the success rate of pirate attacks decreased to 25 per cent.
“The 7 successful pirate attacks out of 21 reported piracy cases in 2019 denotes a considerable reduction in reported cases of pirate attacks may be adjudged to override the percentage increase in the rate of successful pirate attacks in 2019.
Regarding anti crude oil theft operations, Ibas said, “The Nigerisn Navy through its Forward Operations Bases and other plstforms cumulatively destroyed a total of 2,287 illegal refineries between 2015 -2019.
‘These activities were complemented with series of swamp buggy ops in the areas where illegal refineries were discovered.
The breakdown of the destroyed illegal refineries from 2015 to 2019 shows that in 2015, about 140 illegal refineries were destroyed and 128 illegal refining sites in 2016.
‘However, in 2017, a total of 1,218 illegal refineries were destroyed, while 383 and 418 illegal refining sites were destroyed in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
“From records, 2017 recorded the highest number of illegal refining sites destroyed. This figure decreased in 2018 and later increased slightly in 2019.
‘The reduction in the number of illegal refining sites destroyed from 2017 – 2019 could be attributed to the ongoing swamp buggy operations in the Niger Delta which makes it difficult for perpetrators to reactivate destroyed illegal refining sites.
“Also, successe were recorded in anti-COT and illegally sourced petroleum product which has reduced illegal oil dealings within the Nigerian maritime environment from 2017-2019.
‘For instance, in 2017, the NN denied criminal oil entrepreneurs dealing on illegal oil about 218,057 barrels of crude oil valued at about N3,724,413,560 and 60,553,415 ltrs of AGO valued at N11,807,915,925.
“Similarly, in 2018, illegal oil dealings of about 295,028 barrels of crude oil valued at about N5,039,078,240 and 23,991,325 ltrs of AGO valued at N4,678,308,375 were denied the criminal oil entrepreneurs by the NN.
“In the same vein, in 2019, the NN denied criminal oil entrepreneurs dealing on illegal oil 296,192 barrels of crude oil valued at about N5,058,959,360 and 42,729,530 ltrs of AGO valued at N8,332,258,350.
“It is evident that the number of barrels and ltrs of crude oil and AGO denied the criminal oil entrepreneurs by the NN increased from 2017-2019.
“The reduction in the number of illegal refineries located since 2018 is attributable to the success of Op River Sweep, which resulted in the impounding of approximately 9,406,810 barrels of crude oil, 130,517,570 litres of AGO, 897,475 litres of PMS and 3,407,500 litres of DPK from 2017 to 20 May 2020.
For anti smuggling operations he said Operation Swift Response and Calm Waters resulted in the arrest of a total of 82 smuggling boats and 22 vehicles cumulatively laden with a total of 61,719 bags of rice.
“A total of 449 suspected smugglers were arrested and their boats with products were handed over to Nigeria Customs Service for further action. Details of the persons and number of bags of rice seized are as shown on the screen.
“These achievements also reinforce NN drive towards eradicating rice smuggling in support of the FG policy on local rice production.”
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