BY GABRIEL OKECHUKWU, PORT HARCOURT
With the determination to rid the nation’s maritime environment of all forms of criminality and guarantee protection of Nigeria’s territorial integrity, the Nigerian Navy has continued to embark on regular sea operations such as Exercise Quiet Waters 2021.
The Chief of Naval Staff annual sea inspection is aimed at evaluating the combat readiness of personnel and ships for prompt response during emergency situations.
The Chief of the Naval Staff, CNS, vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, promised a sustained fight against sea piracy, pipeline vandalism, oil bunkering and militancy in the maritime domain, so as to boost the nation’s economy.
Vice Admiral Gambo made the commitment onboard Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS, Okpabana at Federal Ocean Terminal, Onne Rivers State, at the flag off of CNS annual sea inspection, code named “Exercise Quiet Waters 2021”.
While flagging off the Exercise, the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo expressed optimism that the operation will provide a veritable platform for participating fleets to be exposed to new trends in maritime security.
Vice Admiral Gambo who acknowledged the importance of maritime security in the development of the economy, revealed that the operation will intensity the fight against oil theft, sea piracy, trafficking in persons among others.
“On assumption of office, one of my cardinal priorities was to improve the operational efficiency of Nigerian Navy fleets in terms of sea readiness and availability for operational deployment to boost our capacity to meet our constitutional maritime obligations.”
“This aligns with the presidential mandate for a conducive environment for maritime business to flourish.“
The Chief of the Naval Staff said that the newly acquired platforms inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari will be involved in the exercise.
He described the annual sea inspections as part of his vision to reposition the Nigerian Navy for optimal performance in its bid to fulfill its constitutional mandate.
Vice Admiral Gambo expressed confidence that the exercise will also serve as an avenue to discover new areas in Naval training.
Earlier in an address, the Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command, Real Admiral Sanusi Ibrahim stated that the operation entails anti piracy, Fleet maneuver as well as Search and rescue operations.
According to Real Admiral Ibrahim, Exercise Quiet Waters 2021 will improve the operational efficiency of Nigerian Navy, the security of Nigeria water ways and the gulf of Guinea.
“This year’s exercise involves the deployment of fleet assets from the three operational commands, the Nigerian Navy Air Arm, Maritime domain awareness facility, the Nigerian Navy special boat services and for the first time in an exercise scenario, incorporates Operation Bases; Forward Operating Bases and Naval Security Stations to support Naval Operations at sea.”
“This is to realistically assess the capacity of Nigerian Navy to conduct an integrated operation where policing activities of the fleet at sea is complemented by the Bases for optimal results.“
The Flag Officer commanding Eastern Naval Command enjoined participants to leverage on the exposure for a fulfilling professional career.
He noted that there has been a reduction in sea piracy within Nigerian waters according to international maritime reports, as 41 cases were reported in 2018, 17 incidents in 2020, while only four piracy cases were reported in the 3rd quarter of 2021.
About ten ships two Helicopters and other supportive platforms will be taking part in the exercise.