Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Nigerian Navy has commenced a 90-day maritime offensive tagged Operation DOUBENI II in the Niger Delta region.
The operation launched by the Central Navy Command (CNC) of the Nigerian Navy is aimed at conducting evolutions to curb criminal maritime activities within the CNC Area of Responsibility (AOR) and make the Area crime free for economic exploratory activities for enhanced national development.
The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC)of the CNC, Rear Admiral Saidu Garba who flagged off the operation from the Nigerian Port Authority Jetty, Warri, explained that the Operation was to consolidate on the impressive achievements recorded by the Nigerian Navy during the conduct of Operation CALM WATERS which was activated in May 2019 to deter planned agitations within and around Nigerian’s maritime environment.
According to Garba, Operation CALM WATERS has to a large extent contributed to the reduction in reported incidents of sea robbery, piracy, illegal bunkering, smuggling, illegal refinery and other maritime crimes within Nigerian waters.
While disclosing that within the period of the Operation, the Nigerian Navy recorded a total of 27,918 hours of sea patrol which resulted in the arrest of 31 vessels and 357 persons suspected to be engaged in maritime illegalities, he added that naval bases cumulatively neutralised a total of 186 illegal refineries with 2,036 metal tanks and ovens, seizing a total of 23,102,900 litres of illegally sourced products.
The FOC pointed out that notwithstanding the efforts made by the navy and other security agencies at tackling the numerous security challenges prevalent in Nigeria, palpable threats still persist particularly in Nigeria’s maritime domain with threats to attack critical maritime infrastructure, both ashore and offshore, hence the need for the Command to launch Operation DOUBENI II.
Garba who said Operation of this nature is critical towards sustaining the resources and huge potentials of our dear nation which sadly is undermined by domestic and sometimes cross-border threats stressed that the situation calls for measures to bring sanity to the nation’s maritime domain.
He therefore urged all the participating ships and platforms of the CNC to be alert to their responsibilities and put in their best in other to maximise the opportunity and consolidate the gains achieved towards securing Nigeria’s maritime domain.
In his opening remarks, the Fleet Commander, Central Fleet and Officer in Tactical Command of the Operation, Rear Admiral Emmanuel Beckley stated that the Operation will involve the deployment of all the available ships, helicopters and other platforms under the Command. The flag off ceremony has in attendance Principal Staff Officers of the CNC, Commanders of military establishments and other security agencies in Warri, Commanding Officers of NN ships, units and establishments under the Command.