Nigeria and Cameroon are to establish a joint naval patrol to ensure eradication of sea piracy and other illegalities in the maritime industry, according to the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Dele Ezeoba.
Nigeria’s Navy chief, who spoke at the Third Quarter Press Briefing last Thursday in Abuja on efforts by the Nigerian Navy (NN) to eradicate criminal activities from the maritime domain, said that the two countries were already working out modalities for the patrol.
Represented by the Director of Operations at the Naval Headquarters, Cdr. Joseph Okojie, Ezeoba said that the NN had domesticated the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) provisions on employment of privately-contracted armed security personnel on merchant ships.
The domestication, according to him, would be activated after completion of the draft Standing Operating Procedure.
He disclosed that the Navy foiled about 64 sea robbery and piracy attacks between January and August, this year.
He explained that the Navy carried out coordinated operations with the Nigerian Air Force which led to the rescue of two petroleum vessels on August 13, this year.
Between January and September, more than 968 crude oil tankers successfully lifted 82 million metric tonnes of crude oil without being attacked, according to Ezeoba.
“The NN, in collaboration with Joint Task Force Operation Pulo Shield and other security agencies, destroyed about 1,348 illegal refineries, 99 barges, 1,224 boats and 61,844 auxiliary equipment during the period,”’ he said.
According to him, the arrest of 1502 suspects is in connection with the illegal refineries that have been destroyed.
Ezeoba said that the Navy would from October 3 to October 24, 2013, host a major combined military exercise – the African Winds programme of the African Partnership Station.
According to him, the exercises will cover amphibious raid, marine counter-terrorism, sea mine identification and disposal, oil rig protection, riverine operations, insertion and extraction.
He said the objective of the exercise was to improve the capacity of the Armed Forces to plan and execute joint operations in a maritime environment.