Navy Arrests 17 Vessels, Crew for Maritime Illegalities

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Chiemelie Ezeobi

The Western Naval Command (WNC) of the Nigerian Navy (NN) tuesday said the command has over the course of one year arrested 17 vessels and their crew members for different maritime illegalities.

The crew and their vessels were arrested for illegalities not limited to conveying of stolen products, patrolling without permit, discrepancy of products, illegal products and piracy.

The command made this disclosure during the visit of the 134 participants of National Defence College Course 25 led by the Commandant, Rear Admiral Ilesanmi Alade on a strategic military installation tour.

The arrested vessels MT Tanko, MV Bayagbona, MT Saint Leo, MT Our Lady of Fatima and MT Roula, were held for being in possession of illegal crude products.

Others like MV Aesteris, MV Peace, MV Long Island, MV Omat Grace, MT Alba and MT Dejikun, were arrested for conveying stolen oil products.

However, MT Maximus was arrested for piracy, while MT Liang Zian and MT Anuket Emerald were arrested for having no approval and MV Zahara for discrepancy of products, while MV Sunessex was based on a court order.

In his remarks, the WNC Flag Officer Commanding, Rear Admiral Fergusson Bobai, said the command has been acting on the chief of naval staff’s zero tolerance for maritime illegalities.

Bobai who was represented by the Chief Staff Officer (CSO) WNC, Rear Admiral Thaddeus Udofia, said the command has also been providing support for the state in terms of internal security with its reinforced presence at sea.

On the visit he said, “This tour will help consolidate the knowledge acquired by the participants in state craft and security.”

While fielding questions from journalists, Rear Alade said the strategic military installation tour also afforded the opportunity to visit the Nigerian Air Force  Logistic Command, then the 9 Brigade and 81 Division of the Nigerian Army before embarking on a sea trip.

He said: “The NDC, Abuja trains middle cadre officers particuarly of the rank of Colonel and its equivalent in the Nigeria Armed forces and other personnel from MDAs and other arms of government.

“We train them to become strategic leaders of tomorrow and one of the areas that we train them is what we call national security and state craft. In that package, visits to strategic military installation is one of the subject.

“This year, National Defence College choose Lagos are and as you heard a while ago, the participants have been briefed on the activities of the Western Naval Command.

“The major objective is to let the participants be aware of the capability, effectiveness and efficiency of our armed forces so that they will go back and it will assist them also in writing their reports.

“Anybody who has to take strategic decision tomorrow, must be well grounded on the activities of the armed forces. That is why we are here.

“After now, the Nigerian Navy will be taking the participants to sea , for sea exercise they will remain there overnight. It is to further give them that experience and let them know how capable the Nigerian Navy is.”

Among the 134 participants were 10 military personnel from other allied countries which includes South Africa, Indian, Brazil, Cote D’Ivoire , Mali, Ghana, Burkina faso, Tanzania, Cameroun and Togo.