In a major military drill on Sunday, the Nigerian Navy deployed its Special Boat Service Unit (special forces) and hundreds of men on ten vessels, two helicopters, and other assets to the Niger Delta region of the country.
Vice Adm. Awwal Gambo, Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), announced the deployment at the flag-off of the CNS Annual Sea Inspection, code-named ‘Exercise Quiet Waters,’ in Onne, Rivers State.
He stated that the enormous deployment of soldiers and military equipment is part of a commitment to improving operational efficiency in combating crime and criminalities on the nation’s seas.
“So, we are deploying 10 capital ships, two helicopters and our special forces, including for the first time, naval operational bases and forward operating bases conducting the exercise.
“Both operational bases and forward operating bases will conduct backwater operational exercises simultaneously with the operation that we have at sea for the next three days,” he said.
Gambo stated that the exercise was in line with the Navy’s Presidential mission to provide a favourable environment for marine enterprise to prosper.
“This inspection comes against the backdrop of the remarkable strides attained in the significant reduction in cases of piracy and sea robbery in our maritime environment.
“Hence, we are fully focused on sustaining the strategic momentum in our fight against maritime crimes and threats,” he added.
According to him, the exercise also aims to adjust the navy’s operational deployments in order to strengthen its fleets’ impact in defending the nation’s waterways.
The navy commander commended President Muhammadu Buhari for recently inducting newly purchased platforms, as well as Nigeria’s first home-built warship, NNS Oji, into the navy’s fleet.
Rear Adm. Sanusi Ibrahim, Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Eastern Naval Command, stated that the exercise will also allow Gambo to examine the operational response of the nation’s fleet.
He went on to say that the CNS would also assess all other connected capabilities, such as logistics assistance, staff training, and information management procedures.
“To this end, the fleet will conduct exercises ranging from anti-piracy operations, protection of offshore oil and gas facilities, fleet manoeuvres and communication and gunnery.
“The fleet will also carry out Maritime Interdiction Operations, such as vessel board search and seizure opposed boarding as well as search and rescue operations.
“Conversely, the shore bases will conduct supporting clearance operations and surgical raids on criminal elements camps and hideouts.
“They will also carry out associated operations to curtail the activities of pirates/sea robbers, oil thieves, pipeline vandals and illegal bunkers,” he noted.
According to Ibrahim, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) recently confirmed the amazing achievements made by the Nigerian Navy in its Report on Piracy Attacks.
According to him, the study shows that incidences of maritime piracy in Nigeria’s territorial seas have decreased from around 41 in 2018 to 17 in 2020 and only four cases so far.