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‘42 ships impounded for oil theft in one year’

‘42 ships impounded for oil theft in one year’

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Olaleye Aluko, Abuja

The Nigerian Navy said on Tuesday that it was intensifying efforts to tackle crude oil theft in the Niger Delta region, noting that its troops impounded 42 ships for the crime.

The navy said it had acquired 173 new patrol boats to enable the troops to go after the criminals sabotaging oil installations in the region as well as other security challenges in the country.

The Chief of Naval Transformation, Rear Admiral Begroy Ibe-Enwo, stated this in Abuja at a briefing to mark the Navy’s 62nd anniversary, noting that there were both foreign and local vessels among the 42 impounded ships.

The theme of the anniversary is, “Enhancing an integrated maritime strategy for security in the Gulf of Guinea.”

Ibe-Enwo said the military was also expecting six new ships from France to boost its capacity, noting that it would not relent in its efforts to secure the maritime environment.

He said, “Our operations are specifically aimed at checking crude oil theft, illegal bunkering, piracy and sea robbery among others. Operations Tsare Teku and Rivers Sweep are ongoing to address the illegalities on our waters.

“In the last one year, the navy has patrolled the maritime environment for over 22,000 hours. In the process, 42 vessels have been impounded for illegalities in Nigeria’s domain and they are undergoing various stages of investigations and prosecution. We have both foreign and local vessels among them. Some of the crews on those ships have as many as 10 nationalities.

“The navy is also aware of the current soot disaster in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, and its environs.  Currently, an action is being taken to address this concern which is inclusive of stakeholders’ engagement and the establishment of a dedicated task force to address the matter.”

The naval chief said the essence of the anniversary was to improve on the synergy between the navy and the international community in combating current and emerging security challenges in the Gulf of Guinea.

Our correspondent learnt that the navy’s 62nd anniversary would include the opening of the Nigerian Navy Military School, Ikot Ntuen, Akwa Ibom State, a medical outreach and the opening of navy ships to Nigerians.

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