Navy arrests 10 merchant vessels, apprehends 90 pirates

By Dapo Olawuni     |       

The Western Naval Command; the Premier Command of the Nigerian Navy has announced the arrest of  ten vessels and a lot of other crafts for engaging in illegal activities on Nigerian waters between January and July 2019.

This is even as the command announced that 90 persons belonging to identified pirates groups were arrested within the period under review.

Flag Officer Commanding of Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Oladele Daji disclosed this last week at the Dinner and Awards Night organised by the command.

On arrest of vessel engaged in illegalities, he said the patrol activities of the capital ships during the period under review ensured the arrest of the 10 merchant vessels for various maritime-related crimes within the jurisdiction of the command.

He said the successful arrests could be attributed to the skillful application of Maritime Domain Awareness surveillance and availability of operational ships in the Command.

He disclosed that since he took over Command of Western Naval Command on the 9 April 2019 as the 39th Flag Officer Commanding, he has contributed immensely to the management of human and material resources under his Command.

“These areas are: sustained presence at sea and adjoining waters, Arrest of vessels engaging in criminalities, anti – piracy operations and anti – illegal bunkering operations and surveillance operations. Others are aid to civil authority, participation in local and international exercises, diplomatic engagements and provision of armed escorts”

“The Command has continued to optimize the use of its assigned sea going platforms to maintain presence in its Area of Responsibilities ( Ships at SEA).  Ships were at sea for more than 3,064 hours, 38 minutes till date. This is a significant increase of over 20 per cent from previous year 2018”

Daji said these measures, coupled with the use of the Maritime Domain Awareness facilities and helicopter surveillance enabled the command to effectively checkmate illegal activities along the creeks and waterways and deter criminal elements.

The Naval boss also stated that his command has been relentless in pursuing and bursting piracy rings within its Area of Operations by adopting a more proactive posture. He said the command was able to arrest some of the criminals involved in piracy within its maritime environment.

“Of note is the rein of 4 key piracy groups uncannily networked and operated by several individuals out of which, over 90 persons have been apprehended between Jun 18 and Jun 19”

“The anti-illegal bunkering efforts of the Command have also yielded positive results, as patrol teams deployed during the period in focus intercepted and destroyed several boats an vehicles conveying stolen petroleum products as well as storage depots.

Of particular note is the decisive response to the wanton products pilfering previously identified with the Atlas Cove Island in Lagos State. This led to the recovery of over 26,650 jerry cans of Prime Motor Spirit  with market value of about N159, 705,600.00.  As part of the measures to further curb anti-illegal bunkering operations and oil theft in Atlas Cove Island, the Command has focused on the arrest of key perpetrators in the crime”

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