The Nigerian Navy on Tuesday deployed troops on board 14 platforms, including gunboats and aircraft, in a special military exercise code-named “Exercise Yangha Mi” to fight piracy, oil theft and other maritime crimes.
The Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Naval Command of Nigerian Navy, Calabar, Rear Admiral David Adeniran, announced the deployment at the flag-off of the exercise in Onne, Rivers.
Adeniran said that the three-day exercise was aimed at tackling the menace of pirates, oil smugglers and other criminal activities taking place in the nation’s waters.
“Exercise Yangha Mi, meaning ‘save me’ in Ibibio dialect, is one of the numerous operational engagements that the command is currently undertaking.
“The exercise will involve 14 platforms and 46 riverine boats taking part in the exercise from September 3 to September 6.
“No fewer than 5,000 personnel will participate in the exercise that includes those who are physically taking part in the exercise and others who are not,” he said.
Adeniran said that personnel of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) would also participate in the exercise.
Others are the State Security Service (SSS), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
Adeniran said that exercise Yangha Mi was among the many sea operations, such as Operation Bekanmon (Calm Water) and Operation Soot Response, ongoing under the Eastern Naval Command.
“The gains of these engagements have resulted in a decrease in incidences of piracy and sea robbery, militancy, kidnapping; crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism.
“These gains have led to increase in shipping activities, crude oil production and other forms of economic activities. Yangha Mi is aimed at consolidating on the gains achieved.
“Our capital ships and patrol gunboats will carry out interdiction operation, search and rescue, and boat side and rescue operations.
“Other operations are seizure of vessels of interest for arms, illicit drugs, gunnery exercise, fleet manoeuvre, man overboard and abandoned ship procedure, among others,” he added.
Adeniran said that some of the warships and aircraft would conduct reconnaissance and protection exercises on critical oil and gas terminals located in Agbami, Antan, Usan and Owori oil fields.
According to him, the strategic objective of the operation was aimed at dislodging criminals and securing legitimate economic activities in the nation’s maritime environment.