Rear Adm David Adeniran, the Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command, Calabar, yesterday, said that oil theft and sea piracy have reduced drastically in the Niger Delta region.
Adeniran said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on board Nigerian Navy Ship, Okpabana in Calabar.
He was speaking on the sideline of the fourth quarter exercise of the Nigerian Navy tagged ‘Exercise Ani-Oforifori’, meaning ‘chase thief’ in Kalabari language.
The FOC attributed the reduction to the constant patrol of the region by naval personnel at sea.
According to him, the constant patrol of naval personnel also boosted the confidence and operations of oil platforms at sea.
He told NAN that the patrol also helps the navy to interrogate and question other vessels operating in the maritime domain.
“The more we are at sea, the better for the economy and the oil platforms including those operating legally at sea.
“It is, however, bad news for criminals operating at sea to know that we are on patrol,” he said.
Commenting on the exercise, the FOC told NAN that the ‘man-over-board’ was conducted to enhance the skills of personnel in saving the lives of anyone who may fall into the sea by accident.
“The man-over-board exercise we just did is one of the exercises of the navy. We have to practice it regularly to rescue anyone who may fall into the sea.
“We have accidents all over the place. We have vehicle accidents, aircraft accidents and likewise sea accidents.
“Sea accidents can be through collision of ships, navigational hazards such as granding and others,” he said.
On the gunnery exercise, commanding officer of Nigerian Navy Ship, Okpabana, Capt Nnamdi Ekwom, told NAN that the navy was fully committed to the protection of the country’s national resources.
Ekwom said that the gunnery exercise was one of the series of activities lined up for the exercise Ani-Oforifori.
“Our participation in this exercise is in furtherance of the total spectrum maritime strategy of the Nigerian Navy in the chokepoint control area.
“We are exercising our men and equipment and also closing up on all gaps that might exist in the maritime space,” he said.
NAN reports that other exercises such as semaphore, life raft, flash light for night communication signals and others were also conducted at sea during the exercise.