Ibok-Ete Ibas Naval chief says Navy has recorded tremendous achievements

Ibas said that NN had recorded tremendous achievements in the area of maritime domain awareness, Policing operations and training.

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The Nigerian Navy (NN) on Tuesday restated commitment of the service to protecting the nation’s maritime domain for better service delivery.

The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Adm. Ibok-Ete Ibas, said this when the Senate Committee on Navy paid him an oversight visit at the Naval Headquarters, Abuja.

Ibas said that NN had recorded tremendous achievements principally in the area of maritime domain awareness, Policing operations, fleet recapitalisation and training.

Others include: exercises and operations, personnel motivation, research and development and disposal of expired ammunition.

``We have been able to monitor and checkmate maritime crimes, especially crude oil theft, illegal bunkering, sea robbery and piracy at the Central Command, Yenagoa.

``Some coordination centres have been activated and data communication with deployed units is being improved, manning is also being enhanced through continued training,’’ Ibas said.

He expressed optimism that the ongoing integration with Falcon Eye project and Boat Tracker would ensure versatility in the NN operations.

The chief of naval staff also said that the vigorous patrol embarked upon by the NN had yielded positive result and much difference in its operations in recent times.

``The nation’s water became extremely dangerous at the beginning of this year where 49 piracy incidents were recorded between January and April.

``But NN responded decisively by mounting an anti-piracy operation tagged ``Operation Tsare Teku’’ which has been very successful so far, limiting attacks to just three incidents since April.

``The NN had also arrested 27 vessels and over 200 crew members since January. Over 65 illegal refineries, 13 barges, 23 large wooden boats and 180 auxiliary equipment were destroyed during the same period,’’ he said.

According to him, these operations enabled the Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC) to nominate 883 tankers to load about 426,290,855 barrels of crude oil and allied products.

Ibas said the NN had also adopted a double-pronged strategy toward acquiring ships to carry out its operations.

He said that the NN could be more successful in countering the maritime crimes if given the necessary platforms and equipment.

The CNS said that in spite of the tremendous achievements recorded by NN so far, there were some challenges, especially in area of platforms, shortage of barrack accommodation and inadequate funding.

In his remarks, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Navy, Sen. Isah Misau, expressed confidence in the CNS and urged him to move the NN to enviable position, going by his track records.

``We want to assure you that the committee will work and partner with the NN to ensure that opportunities are explored toward ensuring that NN becomes more modern and sophisticated in carrying out its role.

``We will also assist NN to overcome its challenges in area of inadequate funding, decaying infrastructure such as jetties, barrack accommodation and lack of platforms for effective policing of the nation’s maritime environment,’’ he said.

Misau said that the committee was also making serious efforts to ensure that NN was assisted through budgetary provisions.

The chairman said that the committee had already made representations to the leadership of the National Assembly (NASS), stressing the need for an upward review, especially of the overhead budgetary provision.

This, he said, was in view of the rising cost of lubricants to run the new ships acquired by the service.

Misau said that the committee had not also forgotten the CNS’s appeal for the consideration of the NN hydrography office and NN dockyard as independent budget cost centres.

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