The Nigerian Navy has lunched “OPERATIONS DELTA SANITY” to further combat crude oil theft and other criminalities in the nation’s maritime space.
The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Adm. Emmanuel Ogalla flagged-off the Operation on Wednesday at the NPA Jetty, Warri, Delta.
The “Operation DELTA SANITY” replaces Operation DAKATAR DA BARAWO.
In his remark, the CNS said that Operation Delta Sanity was timely, considering the renewed effort of the Federal Government toward attaining sustainable development of Blue Economy.
He said that Operation DAKATAR DA BARAWO was launched in April 2022 to stern the tide of crude oil theft.
Ogalla said that the
menace of crude oil theft and illegal bunkering had constituted a substantial threat to the nation’s economic prosperity.
“As at December 2021, Nigeria’s crude oil production had fallen from 1.579 million barrels in 2020 to 1.197 million barrels.
“This loss was attributed to pipeline vandalism, crude oil theft and operation of Illegal Refining Sites (IRS).
“Accordingly, no effort should be spared in combatting oil theft which constitutes a grave national security threat,” he said.
The naval chief said that it was on this premise that the Operation DAKATAR DA BARAWO was launched.
He said that during the operation, the Navy engaged in kinetic and non-kinetic initiatives across the Niger Delta.
The Naval chief said this led to arrest of several vessels and crude oil and refined products.
“These include the landmark arrest of MT HEROIC IDUN in Aug. 22, which prevented the theft of about three million barrels of crude oil.
‘”A total value of over N105 billion worth of crude oil and illegally refined petroleum products were seized during the operation.
“As a result of the Operation DAKATAR DA BARAWO, as at September 2023, Nigeria’s crude oil output rose to 1.35 million barrels per day, from about 1 million barrels per day.
“It peaked at 1.57 million barrels per day in October 2023.
“It is my singular honour and privilege to terminate Operation DAKATAR DA BARAWO and Flag-off Operation DELTA SANITY.
“I wish all the officers and ratings of participating units fair winds and following seas,” he said.
The CNS said that the Blue Economy initiative of President Bola Tinubu sought to maximise the Nation’s potential by deriving optimal benefits from Nigerian Maritime Environment for economic prosperity.
He said that the initiative beholds on the Navy to rejig the ongoing anti-crude oil theft, anti-illegal bunkering and related operations.
Ogalla said that the Navy conducts its military, policing and diplomatic roles in line with its constitutional mandate.
He said that the Navy policing role encompassed enforcing and assisting in coordinating the enforcement of anti-bunkering laws of Nigeria.
The naval chief stressed the need to ensure greater integration of Maritime Domain Awareness facilities,and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to enhance situational awareness of the Area of Operations.
He said renewed strategy on environmentally sustainable handling of seized products, and arrested vessels had been reconstituted under Operation DELTA SANITY.
“The operation will incorporate complimentary kinetic and non-kinetic measures to consolidate the successes of the Operation DAKATAR DA BARAWO in the Niger Delta area,”he said.
He charged all participating commands, units and establishments to strive towards realising the desired operational objectives of Operation DELTA SANITY.
“I seek the support of concerned Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as maritime stakeholders to ensure the success of this Operation.
“I believe that all hands will be on deck towards achieving the desired objectives of this Operation.
“This would foster the much-desired economic recovery and development of our great nation,” he said.
The naval chief thanked Tinubu for his continuous support to the Nigerian Navy.
Also speaking, Gov. Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta thanked the Navy for the new initiative and promised to offer support.
Oborevwori was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Kingsley Emu.
In a remark, Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil) thanked the Navy for ridding Nigeria’s maritime environment of crimes.
He said that the Navy made giant strides in its maritime policing efforts in line with its constitutional mandate, especially through prevention of oil theft and others.
Hr urged all participating units and formations to vigorously, and sincerely pursue the desired operational objectives of Operation DELTA SANITY.
“I equally solicit the support of all stakeholders and partners to the Navy so that we can derive optimal benefits from this noble initiative,” he said.
The CNS also inaugurated a building project at the premises of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Delta.
In attendance were: Rear Adm. Olusegun Ferreira, Commander, Joint TaskForce (JTF), Operation Delta Safe (OPDS), Minister of Defence, Bello Matawalle represented by Director of Navy, Dr Raji Ogunsola, Commander, NNS Delta, Commodore Chindo Yahaya.
Others are Mr Austin Oruoye, member representing Warri South Constituency, representatives of other military and para-military among others.