In a bid to prevent any piracy attack on Lagos waterways, the Western Naval Command (WNC), yesterday said it has intensified patrol on its Area of Responsibility (AOR)- Lagos Roadstead and beyond the Farewell Bouy.
The Flag Officer Commanding, WNC, Rear Admiral Fergusson Bobai, made this disclosure at the command headquarters in Apapa during the visit of French Naval Ship, Commandant L’HERMINIER.
The patrol of Lagos waters is coming at heels of the recent piracy attack on a Russian ship at the Port Harcourt waters, as well as the double successes recorded by the navy in rescuing an oil tanker, MT GAZ Providence and an oil tanker MT RIO SPIRIT, from pirates, in a Rivers and Delta States respectively.
Although none of the three incidents happened on the Lagos waterways, Bobai, said nonetheless, they have been deploying ships to patrol Lagos waters judiciously.
He said: “We have been deploying ships to sea on regular basis. Besides Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) UNITY that is engaged in Operation Restore Democracy in The Gambia, NNS Prosperity and NNS Karaduwa have all been at sea patrolling to ensure our waterways are safe for commerce.
“They just got ashore because of the French ship but as soon as the ship leaves, they are returning to sea to ensure maritime safety. But in the meantime, NNS Okpabana is out at sea patrolling.”
Bobai, who assured the visiting ship of safety, said the Nigerian Navy (NN) would benefit from the Offshore Patrol Vessel’s (OPV) two-day port call in terms of training.
He said: “The visit of this French Navy Ship has further emphasised military cooperation between both countries.
“The visit also provides opportunity for them to see the security situation in the country for themselves and based on what is reported by international media.
“For the training, we have identified areas we would like our personnel to receive training on. It’s normal that naval ships visit friendly navies as part of diplomatic roles.
“Doing so affords opportunity to deepen relationship between navies. It also affords advance navies the opportunity to extend trainings to less advance ones.
“We would take opportunity of their visit to engage them to train some of our personnel in areas of their competence.”
The captain of the French ship, Lieutenant Commander Matthias Canonne, said they were in the country to strengthen their relationship with NN, adding that exercises on safety, diving and boarding techniques would be executed.
Constructed about 30 years ago, Commandant L’HERMINIER has a crew of 90 personnel including 10 officers.