Spain, at the weekend, said the Nigerian Navy has the key to ending piracy and other maritime crimes within the West African coast, especially as it has ensured the delisting of Nigeria from pirate prone countries.
The Ambassador of Spain to Nigeria, Juan Ignacio Sell, who made the statement, said every year, his country deploys two vessels to the West African coast, to give Nigeria strong solidarity in its fight against piracy and other maritime crimes.
He spoke while leading a team of top diplomatic staff of the embassy and the Commanding Officer of the Spanish warship SNS BAM RELAMPAGO, to Western Naval Command, stressing that the essence of the deployment was for Spain to coordinate itself with navies of the West African coast, for solidarity and to further the interest of Spain.
Sell applauded the Nigerian Navy for ensuring that the incidences of piracy were brought down dramatically, urging the Nigerian Navy to ensure sustenance of this feat.
Responding, the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Yakubu Wambai said the Nigerian Navy and other Gulf of Guinea countries have agreed to set up a combined task force, to ensure that piracy is completely stamped out within the region.
The FOC, who was represented by the Chief Staff Officer, Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Hamza Kaoje, said, “We also know that you are interested in events at the Gulf of Guinea because of your participation. We also know that the last time the EU delegation came here, you were part of it and we are happy because of the collaboration going on, and because of continued relationships with international partners.
“Nigeria is happy it has been delisted from the pirates prone countries. I want to assure you that Nigeria is working to maintain and even improve on its present status. To that effect, recently, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, visited France and the issue of Gulf of Guinea was seriously discussed and, at the last maritime conference in Nigeria, Nigeria and other Gulf of Guinea countries agreed that they were going to form a combined task force, just to maintain the status and, also, ensure the safety of other littoral states in the Gulf of Guinea.”
The FOC also asked for training slots and for assistance in terms of equipment, to enable the Nigerian Navy to continue and sustain the fight against piracy, and other maritime crime within the West African coast.
The SNS BAM RELAMPAGO, an offshore patrol boat, set sail from its home port in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, as part of the Maritime Operational Command (MOM in Spanish), under the operational control of the Operations Command (MOPS in Spanish), to conduct a maritime surveillance mission in within the Gulf of Guinea.
Its main objective is guaranteeing the security of maritime areas of national interest and jurisdiction. The ship will carry out various activities related to the knowledge of the maritime environment, including verification and control of maritime traffic, supervision of fishing activity and protection of the most important maritime lines of communication in the area, in coordination with the Maritime Action Operations and Surveillance Centre (COVAM in Spanish).
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