The Nigerian Navy’s Central Naval Command (CNC) on Friday flagged-off a 90-day maritime operation, code named Operation DOUBENI II aimed at eliminating sea robbery, piracy, illegal bunkering, smuggling, illegal refineries and other maritime crimes within Nigerian waters.
A statement on Saturday in Yenagoa by the Central Command’s Spokesperson, Commander Blessed Nuhu, said that the operation was launched from the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA)’s Jetty, Warri, Delta State.
The statement said that in flagging off the operation, Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), CNC, Rear Adm. Saidu Garba, said that it would indeed curb criminal maritime activities within the CNC Area of Responsibility (AOR) and make it crime-free for economic exploratory activities towards enhanced national development.
Admiral Garba also noted that the operation was to consolidate on the impressive achievements recorded by the Nigerian Navy 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 largely 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 Navy 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 Nigerian Navy bases cumulatively destroyed 186 illegal refineries with 2,036 metal tanks and ovens, seizing 23,102,900 litres of illegally sourced products.
Garba however, pointed out that in spite of efforts the Navy 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.
According to him, “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.”
The FOC therefore, urged all participating ships and platforms of the Central Naval Command 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, the Central Command 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, calling for the support of all maritime security stakeholders as well as the civil populace in confronting threats to Nigeria’s common interest.
At the new operation flag off ceremony were Principal Staff Officers of the CNC, Commanders of military establishments and other security agencies in Bayelsa State, Commanding Officers of Nigerian Navy Ships, units and establishments.