Navy impounds 38 ships over illegal activities

The Nigerian Navy on Wednesday in Abuja said it arrested 38 ships involved in illegal activities in the waterways in the country from January 2014 to date.

Chief of Policy and Plans, at the Naval Headquarters, Rear Adm. Ameen Ikioda, made this known at a news conference to mark the 58th anniversary of the Nigerian Navy.

Ikioda said that eight of ships belonged to Chinese companies and were impounded for illegal fishing activities in Nigerian waters.

He said the navy had been unrelenting in its operations to protect the nation’s maritime environment against all forms of threats.

According to him, the navy constantly carries out surveillance and patrol of the maritime areas with available surveillance systems, ships and helicopter.

He explained that the operations were specifically aimed at checking crude oil theft, illegal bunkering, piracy and sea robbery and illegal fishing, adding that the authorities were encouraged by the success recorded so far.

Ikioda said that naval personnel were also involved in internal security operations in some states, including Adamawa, Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau and Yobe.

He said the recapitalisation of the naval fleet was top priority in the consideration of the authorities, adding that a double-pronged strategy toward achieving the objective had been adopted.

The chief of policy and plans said the navy had acquired some ships from friendly countries to Nigeria, while the force was complementing the effort with local construction of ships.

“In this regard, the United States Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin was transferred to the Nigerian Navy on May 7, 2014 at Charlestone, South Carolina.

“The ship which has been renamed NNS OKPABANA is expected to sail from the United States in the third quarter of the year to join the naval fleet. In the same vein, the navy has acquired 2×1800-tonne Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) on order from China.

“One of the OPVs, NNS CENTENARY, is expected to join the fleet before the end of this year,” he said.

Ikioda said that about 30 per cent of the OPVs would be constructed in the Naval Shipyard in Port Harcourt in partnership with the shipbuilding yard in China.

He also said that five K-47 boats were currently under construction in the Netherlands and would also join naval fleet before the end of the year.

Ikioda said activities lined up for the anniversary in the five commands, include jumat prayers, church service, medical rhapsody and community relations in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Calabar.

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