Navy records arrest of 77 vessels for maritime illegalities

In line with the vision of the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin, to emplace a well-equipped naval force capable of being deployed in the defence of Nigeria’s maritime domain and the Gulf of Guinea, the Nigerian Navy (NN) said it recorded over 77 arrests of vessels this year.

The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ilesanmi Alade, made the disclosure on Monday at the end of the second biannual inspection of the command in Lagos.

He said the vessels were arrested across board within a period of 11months ranging from January till November 2014 for various acts of illegalities on the nation’s waterways.

He said, “Over 77 vessels that had been perpetrating illegally on our waters had been arrested since January till November, 2014. Some of the vessels were arrested for crude oil theft, piracy, carrying petroleum products without naval clearance and overloading.

“Some of the arrested vessels have been handed over to the prosecuting agency, while some of them are still in our custody for further investigation.”

Alade also said the Navy would not relent in eradicating oil theft, pipeline vandalism and sea piracy in Nigeria’s waterways for sustained economic prosperity.

While giving an address at the end of the biannual inspection, he said the tour gave him the opportunity to see the state of affairs of the different units and bases under the command.

He said, “Regular inspections like this require we adhere to standards and ensure that we are combat ready. I have been able to confirm the standards of both the shore and sea assets are high. It is hoped that this will support the way we operate in future and reinforce our drive to instill discipline in the use of dwindling resources.

Alade, however, urged the officers and ratings of the command to make use of the job training opportunities to enhance their professional skills.

Commending the sea exercise that heralded the parade, in which Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Ekun returned to sea after years of disrepair and sailed successfully, Alade said the exercise enabled him assess the state of readiness of the western fleet.

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