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N’Delta Creeks no hiding place for pirates

Posted by By PHILIP NWOSU on 2008/06/03 | Views: 1134 |

N’Delta Creeks no hiding place for pirates


The Nigerian Navy has said it is not relenting in the fight against pirates and economic saboteurs which litter the waters in the country’s oil rich Niger Delta.

…As Navy acquires more weapons

The Nigerian Navy has said it is not relenting in the fight against pirates and economic saboteurs which litter the waters in the country’s oil rich Niger Delta.

To this end, the force has moved to beef up its platforms with sophisticated combat vessels with the capabilities of penetrating the creeks and making exploration in the Niger Delta area safer.

Indeed, the force said the battle is now in the creeks, hence its decision to acquire six gun boats expected to boast the inventory of the force and enhance its operational efficiency, particularly in policing the country’s water ways and oil facilities.

The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ganiyu Adekeye said that with the arrival of the first batch of the boats by the end of this month, the battle scenario will change and the pirates and oil thieves would no longer have a hiding place.

Admiral Ganiyu Adekeye said that the Nigerian Navy will soon become a “Puncher Navy” positioned to tackle maritime challenges in the West African sub region.
He told Sunday Sun in Lagos against the backdrop of the expectation of the Service to acquire some 17 metres and 31 metres attack Boats, Armoured-Plated Helicopters and Weapons Systems beginning from the second week of June, 2008.

According to the Navy, the request for the purchase of the gunboats were submitted in 2006 and approval obtained from the Federal Government, who made the purchase same year.

Rogue ships
We are doing everything within our capacity to combat these rogue ships which are stationed 30 nautical miles off our shores taking illegally our oil and sometimes when we move to arrest them, the response we get is that they are not in our territorial waters. Sometimes we are left to think what to do as we are restrained by international law. Sometimes too when we arrest and come back we have had decision taken against us by Nigerian courts that we flouted international laws, but we will not relent.

Niger Delta
Accordingly, we have commenced flight troop trainings of the Pilots so that they are not just flying blindly inside the newly acquired helicopters after we must have taken deliveries of the fighter air planes.
Pilots would be using instruments to fly their Aircrafts to enable them fly both at nights and in bad weather.

Because of the recent attacks on oil installations and kidnap of some foreign and local oil workers and their relations in the Niger-Delta region, the International Maritime Organisation has classified Nigeria alongside Indonesia and Malaysia as countries possessing porous waterways.
In fact, the Nigerian water ways is becoming very dangerous. For instance, between Bayelsa and Rivers states boundaries, we have about 3,000 river entrances in the creeks.
Such entrances are where criminal elements were hiding, especially where these rivers are leading to the sea.
If the Navy is having about 12 gun boats in addition to the existing ones, it would be able to meet with the challenges being faced from the Sea Pirates in the nation’s water ways.

New Platforms
The 17 and 31 Metre Boats, we believe, will add bites to our efforts at combating sea piracy in our water ways especially in the troubled Niger-Delta region
Two out of the six gunboats we have ordered to boast our operations will be arriving Nigeria before the year runs out, the next two will follow suit within a short time.
The class of vessels we are bringing is called “Manther Class Patrol boats.” This class of patrol boats are very good, fast and well protected to combat pirates at sea.

We want to assure Nigerians that the Nigerian Navy would not be deterred by critics seeking to shoot down our achievements, as we have progressed greatly towards ensuring that Nigeria’s oil installation would be adequately policed. In September this year, the Nigerian Navy would be taking delivery of a its first locally built combat patrol vessel, designed and built in Nigerian Naval dockyard in Lagos.
This combat vessel would be the first to be built in Nigeria by any ship builder or dockyard. Already work has reached an advanced stage and we are not going back on the construction of the vessel which will raise the way we do things here.

This first step would lead the Nigerian Navy to many others, especially in warship design and building.
The belief in the past had been that the navy cannot achieve this is erroneous, because works done so far have indicated that the Nigerian Navy is capable of building a gunboat of its own.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.