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Navy sends 8 warships, helicopters after sea pirates

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The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Adm. Emmanual Ogalla, said eight elite Nigeria Navy warships and two helicopters have left the country’s shores to combat sea piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

The maritime security operations will encompass anti-crude oil, anti-sea piracy, anti-sea robbery, and anti-fishing, as well as boarding and aerial operations, among other activities.

Vice Admiral Ogalla, who disclosed this to newsmen during the flag-off of exercise ‘Obangame Express 2024’, in Onne, Rivers State on Friday, said the deployment was a global joint naval operation.

Ogalla, who was represented by the Navy’s Chief of Training and Operations, Rear Adm. Olusegun Ferreira, also said the Naval Special Boat Service (Special Forces) would participate in the week-long exercise.

The CNS stated, “Obangame Express, sponsored by the United States African Command (US Africom), brings together naval fleets from the GoG and key partners from Europe, the Spanish navy, and North America to secure the region.

“It offers a platform for like-minded partners to jointly devise African-led solutions to transnational threats and challenges for enhancing regional security”, he said.

He stated that Nigeria is committed to working with the Gulf of Guinea nations on the anti-piracy mission aimed at securing the maritime environment of the region to promote economic activities.

The CNS recounted recent successful joint operations between the Nigerian Navy and the Cameroonian Navy that led to the arrest of a vessel ‘MV Jasmine’ for alleged crude oil theft.

He added, “Likewise, through information provided by the French navy, another rogue vessel, MT Big Majesty, was arrested two months ago in the Gulf of Guinea. Just a few days ago, the Nigerian Navy, acting on behalf of the Gabonese Government, apprehended MV Blu Shark, demonstrating our commitment to regional collaboration.

“These successes mirror the objectives of exercise Obangame Express, which are already commonplace in our maritime space”.

He noted that the exercise aligns with the African Union’s forthcoming launch of a joint maritime task force to enhance regional cooperation in combating maritime crimes in the GoG.

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