By Evelyn Usman
The Nigerian Navy has boasted of its operational capability and combat readiness of its fleet to address maritime illegalities within the nation’s territorial water and its Gulf of Guinea’s corridor.
This assertion was made at the end of the 2020 Chief of the Naval Staff annual sea Inspection codenamed Exercise Still Water, by the Naval Chief, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibass, at the Western Naval Command, Apapa, Lagos.
Noting that training exercises all over the world were conducted to correct weakness and sustain strength, Ibas, described the four days exercise which included Anti-piracy operation, Protection of oil and gas facilities, Fleet manoeuvres, Communication, Vessel, Board Search and Seizure and Search and Rescue, as rewarding, noting that it had impacted positively on the operational efficiency of naval personnel in several areas.
The exercise according to the CNS who was represented by the Chief of Naval Safety and Standard, Rear Admiral Kamalrudeen Lawal, was conducted by the three operations commands, at a designated exercise area within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
He said: “ The exercise was aimed at accessing the operational readiness and combat effectiveness of our fleet. As you may be aware, these goals are hinged on proper training and regular drills.
Training exercises all over the world are conducted to correct weakness and sustain strength.
In achieving these objectives, training exercises will always involve constant exercises that are physically challenging. This is in line with the maxim which says the more we sweat in peacetime, the less we bleed in war”
Adjudging the 2020 CNS annual sea inspection as successful and rewarding, he said,” exercise Still Waters has impacted positively on the operational efficiency of personnel in several areas. The exercise also provided a platform to align our training objectives with our operational realities, towards curtailing various threats in our maritime domain at the Gulf of Guinea.
Additionally, the exercise provided a test bench for the planning and execution of coordinated strike capabilities as well as an assessment of some of our planning assumptions. The exercise is generally adjudged successful”, he said.
A total of 12 Nigerian Navy ships, two helicopters and a detachment of the Special Boat Services were deployed for the just concluded. exercise.
These include capital ships like NNS Prosperity, NNS OKPABANA and NNS KARADUWA.
Other participating ships were: NNS ANDONI, NNS NGURU, NNS EKULU, NNS OSUN, NNS BOMADI, NNS OSE, NNS DORINA, TUG DOLPHIN RIMA, Tug DOLPHIN Mira.
The CNS representative who disclosed that seven onboard landings with the Nigerian Navy helicopters were carried out, during the exercise, informed that throughout the duration of the exercise, there were no hitches,
This, he pointed out, was a clear indication of the Nigerian Navy’s combat readiness against illegalities on the nation’s territorial waters.
He also noted that “ the fact that throughout the exercise, no criminal elements were arrested shows that the exercise on its part has achieved its deterrence value.
“What that means is, whoever is a criminal on our waters is now aware that the Nigerian Navy is ready in all respect to combat all forms of criminality on our water”.
He was however quick to add that observations were noted during the exercise and that lessons learnt would be applied to boost the Navy’s operations.
“This is important for the continued security of our maritime domain in the Gulf of Guinea which is key to our national curriculum maritime security and economic prosperity. Hence the conduct of these forms of maritime exercise will be sustained. “This will guide us in assessing and revising some of our operational procedures and ensure relevance in our quest to conduct decisive maritime combat operations”, he stated.
Appreciating President Muhammadu Buhari for assisting the Navy to improve its operational readiness and efficiency, the CNS, reiterated the Navy’s resolve at ensuring safety on the nation’s maritime domain.
He said, “ The Navy will spare no effort in ensuring a safe and secured maritime environment. I enjoin all to be partners in progress towards ensuring a safe maritime domain, Be rest assured of our continued support for the good of the nation”.