#TrackNigeria: The Nigerian Navy on Thursday, said it would take delivery of 4×17-metre Fast Interceptor Boats in November and an offshore survey vessel in December, 2019.
The Chief of Policy and Plans, Navy Headquarters, Rear Adm. Begroy Ibe-Enwo, made this known at a news conference in Abuja, to mark the 63rd anniversary of Nigerian Navy.
He said the navy had also commenced negotiations that would culminate in the procurement of a 100-metre Landing Ship Tank (LST) in June, 2020, adding that efforts were ongoing to acquire more helicopters for navy’s Air Arm.
Ibe-Enwo, who highlighted the scorecard of the navy within four years, said that there was need to increase the force’s operational capability by acquiring more vessels for effective response to threats.
He said that Federal Government’s intervention in support of more acquisitions was required to sustain a balanced force capable of discharging its roles more effectively.
Ibe-Enwo pointed out that the navy would need more offshore patrol vessels, helicopters and predator drones as immediate intervention.
He said during the period, the force recorded a major achievement in the reduction of piracy and sea robbery attacks within Nigerian waters.
‘’This achievement is largely attributable to the dedicated naval operation code-named Operation TSARE TEKU, activated in April, 2016.
‘’The Operation is aimed at combating attacks on shipping and other illegal activities within Nigeria’s maritime domain.
‘’Since the activation of the operation, there has been a reduction in reported cases of pirate/sea robbery attacks within Nigeria’s maritime domain.
‘’As records indicate, in 2016, a total of 77 pirate attacks were reported with 37, representing 48 per cent of the attacks, unsuccessful.
‘’This reduced to 40 attacks in 2017, out of which 26, representing 65 per cent were unsuccessful, while 60 per cent of the 35 attacks reported in 2018 were also unsuccessful.
‘’These statistics indicate a downward trend over the years,’’ he said.
Ibe-Enwo noted that the significant improvement in security of shipping in Nigeria’s maritime environment was attributable to the contributions of Operation TSARE TEKU and the provision of dedicated maritime security by private maritime companies.
He said that this was attested to by Nigerian Shippers’ Council, which acknowledged that increase in maritime activities was evident in the 10,673vessel calls at Nigerian ports.
He said that the vessels bore gross registered tonnage of over 329 million between 2016 and 2018.
On the activities for the anniversary, Ibe-Enwo said there would be Juma’t prayers on Friday and an Inter-denominational Church service on Sunday, adding that the programmes would hold in all naval commands in the country.
The naval chief also said medical outreaches would be conducted in the commands from Monday to Tuesday.
‘’Ships will be open to visitors from Monday to Wednesday, which will be followed by a sea trip on May 30.’’
Ibe-Enwo added that some projects executed by the authorities would be inaugurated on May 31.
‘’The last in the series of activities lined up for the NN 63rd Anniversary is the Ceremonial Sunset and Awards to deserving personnel, which will take place at Naval Dockyard Limited, Victoria Island, Lagos on June 1,’’ he also said.
According to him, the ceremonial sunset is one of the oldest, colourful and significant naval ceremonies that usually mark the conclusion of special events.
‘’In keeping with tradition, the ceremonial sunset will include a display of the Ceremonial Band of the NN and a salute to the lowering of the Ensign.
‘’ It is pertinent to state that throughout the period of the anniversary, and as operational demands would permit, all capital ships of the Navy will be dressed overall with flags and be lit at night,’’ he said. (NAN)