No fewer than 10 Nigerian Navy warships have returned to base after a military exercise to checkmate criminals in the nation’s waters and the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).
The warships are Nigeria Navy Ship (NNS) Sagbama, NNS Nwamba, NNS Ibeno, NNS Dorina, NNS Gongola, NNS Ikene, NNS Badagry, NNS Oji, NNS Ose and NNS Okpoku.
Addressing newsmen after the warships berthed in Onne, Rivers, the Flag Officer Commanding Central Naval Command (CNC), Rear Adm. Umar Chugali said the exercise code-named “Exercise Sea Guardian” was a huge success.
He said troops participated in anti-crude oil theft operation, vessel seizure, fleet manoeuvres, man overboard and gunnex.
“Other activities include communications and emergency drills such as firefighting, steering gear breakdown, machinery failure, abandon and man, and cheer ship.
“The exercise was used to exercise and demonstrate the capacity and capability of our ships at sea, to secure Nigeria’s maritime space and the Gulf of Guinea.
“The four-days exercise was used to highlight our readiness in tackling all forms of maritime crimes within Nigeria’s maritime environment and GoG,” he added.
Chugali said aside the warships, two attack helicopters and a detachment of the Navy’s Special Boat Service, equivalent to United States Navy Seals, participated in the exercise.
Rear Adm. Olusola Oluwagbire, Flag Officer Commanding ENC, said the exercise was carried out by troops from both eastern and central naval commands located in Calabar and Yenagoa, respectively.
He said the exercise was part of actionable steps taken by the Nigeria Navy to end crude oil theft, sea robbery and sea piracy, among others, in Nigeria’s waters.
“We are using this exercise to test our capability and readiness to safeguard our waters and the GoG from criminals.
“We are doing our best to present the best foot (personnel) in our deployments – both in terms of personnel and assets,” Oluwagbire said.
On his part, the Commanding Officer, NNS Sagbama, Cdr. Stephen Ebute said the exercise had improved the expertise of troops in onshore and offshore operations.
According to him, it was a platform for the troops, including commanding officers of the various warships, to enhance their training objectives and operational realities.
“This will enable us to expertly tackle emergencies in our ships as well as curtailing the various threats in our maritime domain,” he added.