The Offshore Patrol Vessels Conference Is A Huge Success — Ezeoba
By: Bayo Oladeji on September 12, 2013 - 2:28am
Excerpts of the Closing Remarks by Vice Admiral Dele Joseph Ezeoba Chief of Naval Staff at the Offshore Patrol Vessels Africa 2013 Conference Held in Lagos On 29 August 2013.
It is with great pleasure and a sense of satisfaction that I address you once again as we conclude the First Offshore Patrol Vessels Africa Conference 2013. I am particularly delighted at the impressive turn-out of invited guests and all participants as we all share the historic honor of this event. The presence of over 281 delegates from 41 countries and organizations at this event speaks volume on the importance we all attached to the opportunities this forum provides.
I am particularly elated at the presence of invited Heads of Navies and representatives of navies and coast guards from West, Central, East, North and Southern Africa. I specially thank Rear Admiral GM Biekro, Chief of Naval Staff Ghana, Major General Said Omar, Chief of Tanzanian Naval Forces and Capt. Neyo Takougnadi, Chief of Naval Staff Togo. I am also appreciative of the presence of Rear Admiral Teuteberg from the South African Navy who was also a resource person.
Similarly, my gratitude also goes to the representatives of Navies from Benin, Cote d’voire, Cameroon, Egypt, Gabon and Namibia. Your presence is a clear statement of our collective drive on capacity building as we strive to address the undesirable security situation in our maritime environment. I also thank the representatives of ECOWAS, ECCAS, AFRICOM, United States Navy, European Union, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Pakistan and Sri Lanka for identifying with the spirit of this conference through your presence and intellectual contributions.
You will recall that in my welcome address to this forum, I did assert that one of the identified strategic objectives of this conference was to generate a cross-pollination of ideas on capacity on capacity building and ship building as they relate to maritime security and attendant challenges in Africa. Other ancillary objectives include identification of partners and generation of improved understanding between African natives and industry players on vessel construction and maritime domain awareness solutions. Gleaning from the quality of deliberations within the past three days, I am glad to note that much of these objectives were largely achieved. I am impressed with the insightful suggestions on capacity building on OPV acquisition models across the strategic, operational and tactical levels of our decision making processes on maritime security.
In conceptualizing this conference, it was deemed necessary to have a separate oil and gas focus day given the strategic partnership between Nigerian Navy and this very vital sector of the Nigeria and African Economy. The aim was to create platforms for key players to cross fertilize ideas based on shared experiences in other to generate new concepts, ideas and solutions on how best the NN and indeed other Navies in similar circumstances can improve on current partnerships to secure these multi-trillion dollar investments. I strongly believe that this objective has been largely actualized.
Having achieved this much, I am compelled to quickly recognize the imperatives of sustaining the spirit of this conference, especially in practical terms. Specifically, I look forward to the emplacement of strategic plans at national and regional levels for developing patrol vessel construction capacity across Africa. In this regard, I hasten to recognize the critical role that the established ship building industries in Africa have to play. I am glad that many of the participants here today are captain of industries and they have demonstrated considerable enthusiasm along this line. My passionate advice to all is that the time top the scale practically is now. Hence, I am to re-iterate that the imperative of enhanced maritime security is the development of cost-effective options for OPV acquisition on terms of constructions and sustenance costs and also taking into cognizance strategic partnerships and host country capabilities.
On the part of the Nigerian Navy, we remain open to viable partnership proposals on capacity building on OPV acquisition. In concrete terms, our dockyard in Lagos and ship yard in Port-Harcourt is fully engaged in various partnership arrangements on facility management as well as construction of seaward defense boats and OPVs. In furtherance of this objective, the Naval Engineering Service Company Limited was recently established as a special purpose vehicle for driving our capacity building programmes on fleet supports and ship building initiatives. There are also the civil dockyards; Niger Dock at Snake Island and Continental Shipyard in Apapa currently engaged vessel maintenance activities. As demonstrated in the course of this event, we remain committed to co-hosting and participating in future intellectual events such as the OPV Africa Conference 2013.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, on this note, may I, on behalf of all officers and ratings of the Nigerian Navy and our partner, IQPC, thank you most sincerely for making this conference a huge success.