Navy arrests 27 vessels, deactivates 294 illegal refinery sites

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By George Odok

The Eastern Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy on Tuesday announced that it had arrested 27 vessels involved in illegal bunkering and crude oil theft, while 294 illegal refinery sites were deactivated.

Rear Adm. Ibrahim Dewu, the immediate past Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Eastern Naval Command, disclosed this in Calabar while handing over the leadership of the command to his successor, Rear Adm. Olusola Oluwagbire.

Dewu explained that the arrests were made between the period he assumed office as Flag Officer of the Command, from Feb. 4, 2022 to the period he exited from the command on April 11.

According to him, the command also sustained effective patrol of its maritime area of responsibility as well as undertook several ‘clearance and swamp buggy operations’ in the backwaters.

He noted that the operations resulted in a considerable reduction of piracy in Nigeria’s maritime domain.

He said that the command also took part in some independent, joint and combined exercises like; Operation Calm Waters, Operation Tripartite Border Patrol, Operation Tsare Teku, Operation Gba Pada, Operation Dakatar Da Barawo and Operation Obangame 2023.

“Within the period under review, from Feb. 4 2022 till date, our sustained operations led to the arrests of 27 vessels engaged in illegal bunkering, crude oil theft and other maritime illegalities.

“Other achievements include deactivation of about 294 illegal refining sites and still counting, destruction and evacuation of illegally refined diesel, kerosine and crude oil and destruction of several pirates as well as kidnappers’ camps.

“It is noteworthy to state that the command also recorded significant achievements in infrastructure development across all the bases and establishments under the command,” he said.

He mentioned the projects executed to include; the remodeling of Eastern Naval Command swimming pool with a lounge, mini mart and restaurant.

Others are; remodeling of the multipurpose sports hall and conference room as well as construction of corner shops, and a gym at 1006 officers’ quarters.

“Furthermore, across the bases and units, the commanders and commanding officers have embarked on series of projects towards improving the welfare and security of the personnel.

“We remain grateful to God Almighty, who made it all possible and the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Awwal Gambo, for graciously providing the resources.

“I, therefore, implore you all to fully support the incoming FOC, to enable him surpass these achievements during his time here,” he added.

Responding, the new FOC commended his predecessor for all the achievements he recorded, and solicited the support and cooperation of officers and men in the command to enable him succeed.

“I look forward to contributing my quota towards achieving the Chief of the Naval Staff’ mission of optimising the deployment of Nigerian Navy in the performance of our constitutional roles and undertaking of assigned tasks,” he said. (NAN)