Written by Misbahu Bashir
Saturday, 10 November 2012
The Naval headquarters in Abuja yesterday said it has deployed eight ships,six gunboats and three helicopters to the Niger Delta region to stamp out crude oil theft and piracy.
A statement signed by Rear Admiral E. O Egbo on behalf of the Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba said the joint exercise code named ‘Exercise Farauta (hunting in Hausa)’ will last between November 11 and 17 in the Bight of Bonny. “The exercise is in pursuance of President Goodluck Jonathan’s mandate to the Nigerian Navy to do all it can to stamp out the prevalence of illegal maritime activities especially crude oil theft, illegal oil bunkering and piracy in the Niger Delta.
“Eight ships, six gunboats and three helicopters including elements of Nigerian Army and Maritime Patrol Aircraft of the Nigerian Air Force will be taking part in the exercise.”
According to the statement, the exercise will enable the Navy to assess its operational capability with a view to identifying gaps and taking necessary measures “to fill such gaps for enhanced operational readiness.” The aim of the exercise was to intensify the ongoing naval operations in the Niger Delta region with “emphasis on Bonny-Akassa-Excravos axis (an area notorious for crude oil theft) up to the extent of the offshore oil platforms at Bonga and Bogi”
Meanwhile, a report carried by the “Daily Punch” in its November 9th edition quotes the Chief of Training and Operations, Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral Emmanuel Ogbor as having explained that the fleet evaluation exercise codenamed FARAUTA would “test the operational capability of Nigerian Navy ships that have been undergoing local refit”