By Augustine Ehikioya
Worried by the recent spate of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG), the Nigerian Navy has sustained its presence of her capital ships at sea.
It has also directed operations bases to enhance efforts to dominate their Areas of Operations.
But the Nigerian Navy assured that there is no course for alarm in the Nigerian Maritime Environment.
According to a statement issued by the Nigerian Navy’s Director of Information, Commodore, AO Ayo-Vaughan, and made available to Security Watch Africa (SWA), the Nigerian Maritime Environment is safe.
It said that it is also boosting intelligence to track criminals in order to sustain the sanctity of the Nigerian Maritime Environment
The statement reads “The spate of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) within the last 10 years reduced to an all time low in 2022. While concerted efforts are being made to reduce piracy within the GoG to its lowest minimum, 2 unfortunate incidences were recorded within the GoG in the last 3 weeks.
“The first incident which involved the hijack of Motor Tanker (MT) MONJASA REFORMER occurred on 25 March 2023 at a location 144 nautical mile (nm) West-South-West (WSW) of Pointe-Noire, Republic of Congo.
“It was later discovered that the pirates abducted 6 crew members from the vessel,” it said.
The statement added “The second incident involved the hijack of MT SUCCESS-9 about 306 nm SW of Abidjan Fairway Buoy (FWB), Cote d’Ivoire on 10 April 2023.
“In reaction to the recent spike in piracy incidents in the GoG, the Nigerian Navy (NN) has sustained presence of her capital ships at sea as well as directed operations bases to enhance efforts to dominate their Areas of Operations.
“It is pertinent to state that the NN vectored Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) GONGOLA to rendezvous MT MONJASA REFORMER in company of NNS KANO and a French Warship to escort the vessel to Lome, Togo.”
On the Nigerian Maritime Environment, the statement said “The NN has equally continued to employ her surveillance infrastructure to monitor shipping activities within the nation’s maritime environment and will continue to exploit intelligence to track activities of criminals in order to maintain sanctity of the Nigerian Maritime Environment (NME).”
It went on to urge all seafarers in the Nigerian Maritime Environment to continue to carry out their legitimate businesses without fear.
Stressing that no incident of piracy has occurred within NME, the Nigerian Navy said that the area is “safe for maritime and economic activities,”
It said “The NN would continue to sustain credible presence to deter any form of criminality. In securing the NME and GoG in general, the NN appreciates the efforts of international partners under the Coordinated Maritime Presence arrangement as well as the support of other maritime stakeholders that play other roles in the collective security of the GoG.”