The Nigerian Navy (NN) acquired 173 assorted boats, including Epenal boats, Rigid Hull Inflatable boats and Hydrographic Survey boats in 2017 to boost its operations in the maritime domain, the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Adm. Ibok-Ete Ibas, said.
The naval chief disclosed this at a news conference yesterday in Abuja as part of activities to mark Navy’s 62nd anniversary celebration taking place between May 23 and June 1.
Ibas said the theme of the 2018 Navy Week celebration is “Enhancing an Integrated Maritime Strategy for Security in the Gulf of Guinea.”
Represented by Rear Adm. Begroy Ibe-Enwo, the Chief of Naval Transformation, Ibas said the boats had enhanced navy’s capacity to police and carry out surveillance of Nigeria’s maritime environment.
He said boosting the navy fleet had been a top priority consideration of his leadership.
He added that “it is my great pleasure to inform you that NN concomitantly acquired the 173 assorted boats, including Epenal boats, Rigid Hull Inflatable boats, and Hydrographic Survey boats in the last one year.
“The navy also acquired ships from some foreign countries and complemented local construction of ships and boats.
“In addition, defective NN ships are being refitted at the Naval Dockyard Limited Victoria Island, Lagos and the Naval Shipyard Limited Port Harcourt to ensure availability.
“The NN recently acquired six ocean fast patrol boats from France which will be inaugurated soon.”
Ibas said the navy had also carried out several notable exercises and operations in 2017.
He added that such operations were specifically aimed at checking crude oil theft, illegal bunkering, piracy/sea robbery and illegal fishing, among others.
“Operation Tsare Teku and River Sweep are ongoing operations to address illegalities in the Blue and Brown waters respectively.”
He noted that the maritime exercise had assisted the NN in reducing the menace of piracy and other criminal activities in the Gulf of Guinea since its inception in 2011.
He disclosed that at least 42 vessels had been arrested so far for involving in various illegalities in Nigeria’s maritime domain and were undergoing various stages of investigations for subsequent prosecution.