The Central Naval Command (CNC), of the Nigerian Navy (NN), has flagged-off a 90-day maritime operation, code named Operation DOUBENI II.
Cdr. Blessed Nuhu, the Command’s Information Officer, disclosed this in a statement on Saturday, in Yenegoa.
Nuhu said the operation was launched from the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA)’s Jetty, Warri.
He said the operation was aimed at curbing criminal maritime activities within the CNC Area of Responsibility (AOR), to make it crime-free for economic exploratory activities; towards enhanced national development.
The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), CNC, Rear Adm. Saidu Garba, said the operation was to consolidate on the impressive achievements recorded by the NN during the conduct of Operation CALM WATERS, activated in May 2019, to deter planned agitations within and around Nigerians maritime environment”.
Garba noted that operation CALM WATERS had to a large extent, contributed to the reduction in reported incidents of sea robbery, piracy, illegal bunkering, smuggling, illegal refineries, and other maritime crimes within Nigerian waters.
He highlighted that within the period of the operation, the NN recorded a total of 27,918 hours of sea patrol, which resulted in the arrest of 31 vessels and 357 persons suspected to be engaged in maritime illegalities.
The FOC, added that NN bases cumulatively neutralised a total of 186 illegal refineries with 2,036 metal tanks and ovens, seizing a total of 23,102,900 litres of illegally sourced products.
Garba, however, pointed out that in spite of efforts the NN, and other security agencies at tackling the numerous security challenges prevalent in Nigeria, palpable threats still persisted, particularly in Nigeria’s maritime domain.
He noted that there were still threats of attack on critical maritime infrastructure, both ashore and offshore, hence the need for the Command to launch Operation DOUBENI II.
“An operation of this nature is critical toward sustaining the resources and huge potential of our dear nation, which sadly, is undermined by domestic and sometimes cross-border threats.
“The situation calls for measures to bring sanity to the nation’s maritime domain”, he said.
The FOC therefore, urged all participating ships and platforms of the CNC, to be alert to their responsibilities and put in their best, in order to maximise the opportunity and consolidate on the gains achieved towards securing Nigeria’s maritime domain.
In his opening remarks, the Fleet Commander, Central Fleet and Officer in Tactical Command of the Operation, Rear Adm. Emmanuel Beckley, stated that the operation would involve the deployment of all the available ships, helicopters and other platforms under the Command.
The FOC noted that within the limits of available resources, CNC had been focused and proactive in combating the myriads of threats and illegal activities in Nigeria’s maritime environment.
He affirmed that the protection of resources and economic activities in the country was a collective responsibility of all stakeholders in the region, and called for support of all maritime security stakeholders, as well as the civil populace in confronting threats to Nigeria’s common interest.
Nuhu said in the statement that present at the ceremony were Principal Staff Officers of the CNC, Commanders of military establishments and other security agencies, commanding officers of NN ships, units and establishments under the Command.