The Nigerian Navy on Monday deployed a total of 14 warships and two helicopters to tackle the rising case of pirates’ attacks in the Gulf of Guinea.
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) had indicated an increase in maritime crimes around the Gulf of Guinea (GoG), cementing the West African body of water’s reputation as the world hotspot for piracy.
The International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB’s) piracy reporting centre said last month in a statement from its London headquarters that in comparison, the figure for 2020 195 incidents, which include three hijacked vessels, 11 vessels fired upon, 20 attempted attacks and 161 vessels boarded.
But the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Rear Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo, at a press conference to flag off “Exercises Secured Water,s, said the 14 ships and helicopters had been directed to ensure that the nation’s territorial waters was safe for commercial activities.
Admiral Gambo said the exercise, which is the CNS First Quarter Sea Exercise for the Year 2021, was aimed at sending a strong message to pirates and sea robbers and their sponsors that it was no longer going to be business as usual.
The CNS who addressed journalists onboard the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) THUNDER disclosed that his cardinal priorities was to improve the operational efficiency of NN’s fleet in terms of sea readiness and its availability for operational deployments in order to speedily boost the Navy’s capacity to meet its statutory maritime commitments.
According to him, this is in line with the mandate given by the President to urgently restore normalcy in the nation’s maritime domain and put in place a conducive environment for maritime business to flourish.
Addressing officers and personnel of the Navy, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Oladele Daji, said the exercise involved the deployment of assets from all the three operations command and Naval Training Command with adequate support from the Logistics Command and autonomous units.
He said the exercise presented an opportunity to evaluate and revise the navy’s operational and projected fleet response plans.