Paul Obi in Abuja
Following the rising wave of maritime crimes in the nationâ€™s coastal territory, the Nigerian Navy has extended the duration of the ongoing anti-piracy operation, â€˜Operation Tsare Tekuâ€™ till January 2018.
Recently, there has been an increase in crimes within the maritime and coastal region, with some merchant vessels been intercepted by criminals.
To this effect, the NAF Director of Information, Captain Suleiman Dahun, explained that â€œthe operation was activated in April 2016 in response to the surge in illegalities in the nationâ€™s water and mandated to contain these illegalities.
â€œAgainst this background and the need to sustain the successes achieved so far, the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, has directed the commencement of the fifth phase of â€˜Operation Tsare Tekuâ€™.â€
According to Dahun, â€œa total of six NN ships, NNS Okpabana, NNS Unity, NNS Nwamba, NNS Obula and NNS Sagbama have been assigned for the operation.
â€œSome of the objectives of the operation include containing militant activities, sustaining maritime interdiction operations and blockade to deter pirates and robbers and militants.
â€œSince the commencement of Operation Tsare Teku, there has been a remarkable reduction in pirate attacks in Nigerian waters.
â€œIn the first half of 2016, 53 pirate attacks on shipping were recorded with 36 successful. However, in the corresponding period in 2017, only four successful attacks occurred out of a total of 17 attempted attacks.
â€œThis is attributed to the effectiveness of this dedicated anti-piracy operation and enhanced patrols at sea by Nigerian Navy ships,â€ the director stated.