The Nigerian Navy yesterday disclosed that it has deployed eight of its warships and two fighter jets to tackle cases of insecurity in the country’s territorial waters.
It said the deployment is part of a 30-day sea operations tagged: ‘Okun Alaafia II’, a Yoruba word for ‘calm water’ II, which it said is aimed at checking illegalities around the country’s waters.
The Fleet Commander Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Tanjuma Moses, who is also the exercise Operations Tactical Commander (OTC), divulged this while addressing journalists in Lagos.
He said since the operation started about 11 days ago, two ships were captured, and four suspects have been arrested for allegedly being involved in petroleum products theft along Lagos water ways.
Moses said the ships arrested are MV Mother Comfort and MV Sea Supply, adding: “At the time the two ships were nabbed, they were found to be laden with 240 metric tons and 80 metric tons of diesel respectively.”
The Fleet Commander noted: “The operation was flagged off by the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval on July 24, 2020, to carry out statutory responsibility of protecting the country’s maritime domain in Western Naval Command Area of responsibility.”
According to him, “This was done in order to sustain the gains of previous operations and exercises which the Command had conducted in the past.
“The efforts form part of the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ette Ibas’ operations objectives of his strategic directive.
“In the last 11 days, officers of the Command intercepted and interrogated two vessel of interest observed to have been engaged in suspicious movements. One of the vessels was once intercepted, boarded and searched by NNS NGURU on June 1, 2020, at the Atlas Cove Single Buoy Mooring area.
“Furthermore, narrations of one the ship’s captain on the voyage of the vessel were inconsistent with its movement, which was tracked.”
Admiral Moses state further that the operation is based on the posture of the Western Naval Command underlined by the foregoing successes against perpetrators of criminalities within the Nation’s maritime environment.
He restated the resolve of Flag Officer Commanding that the Nigerian Navy would not rest on it oars to provide necessary conducive environment for law-abiding members of the public to carry out legitimate maritime-related businesses.