BY PHILIP NWOSU
The Nigerian Navy said it has deployed 12 combat ships, including two attack helicopters to the international waters for a sea maneuver that is geared towards enhancing the security of Nigeria’s Maritime domain and sustainability of safety of shipping and other economic activities at sea.
The exercise code named OPERATION STILL WATER , it was learnt will focus on anti piracy, anti crude oil theft, anti smuggling operations while also giving the required boost to ongoing Nigerian Navy operations especially Operation Calm Waters 2 and operation Fleet response among others.
The vessels include NNS OKAPBANA, NNS PROSPERITY, NNS NGURU, NNS OKU, NNS KARADUA, NNS ANDONI, NNS OSUN, NNS DORINA, NNS DOMADI, NNS OSE, Tug DOLPHIN RIMA AND TUG DOLPHIN MIRA.
The Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas flagging off the exercise said it is also aimed at assessing the operational state and readiness of the Nigerian Navy Fleet with focus on anti piracy, anti crude oil theft and anti smuggling amongst others.
He said that the Nigerian Navy has made significant progress in the fight against all forms of criminalities in Nigeria’s maritime environment, adding that the sustenance of the gains made so far is critical to Nigeria national security given the dynamic nature of the threat in the maritime environment.
Admiral Ibas who was represented by the Chief of Naval Safety and Standards Rear Admiral Kamaldeen Lawal said the exercise was conceived to enhance the proficiency of Nigerian Navy personnel in the discharge of the force’s constitutional roles.
He explained that it was in line with his mission to develop a naval force, that is well trained, organised and highly motivated to discharge its constitutional roles professionally and efficiently for the defence of Nigeria in ensuring her economic prosperity.
Earlier, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command Rear Admiral Oladele Daji explained that the main efforts of the ongoing operation is geared towards preventing criminalities within the country’s territorial waters, including illegitimate activities in the maritime domain.
He said that in the course of the operations, criminal hide outs were raided and suspected criminals arrested ashore and at sea were handed over to appropriate law enforcement agencies for further investigation and prosecution.
He explained that sea Inspection involves procurement of assets from all the three operations command, Naval training command as well as adequate support from the logistics command and autonomous.
His said: “This year’s sea exercise can also provide the opportunity to assess the translation of Nigeria Navy training objectives into delivering of operational capabilities in furtherance of the Chief of Naval Staff mission statement and strategy directives, it is my firm belief that this will give additional impetus to our overall night time combat experiences in order to ensure that the Nigerian Navy remains relevant not only in the designs of the territorial integrity of Nigeria but also to other contributions to the nation’s economic prosperity.”