By Paul Obi in Abuja
The Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) and the Nigerian Navy have formulated new modalities to fight piracy, and oil theft within the nation’s maritime territory and economic belt zone.
Speaking at the Naval Headquarters, Abuja, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of NLGN, Mr. Tony Attah, explained that the provision of security by the navy within the Bonny Channel would go a long way to strengthen the protection of Nigeria’s economic belt zone.
He maintained that “the incidence of piracy and sea robbery attacks on ships in the Bonny area had reduced drastically as a result of the Nigerian Navy’s patrol activities.
“The riverine environment had generally become volatile due to the activities of cultist and other miscreants,” a situation, he said, had somehow affected multinationals in the area.
Attah who was accompanied by the NLNG Deputy Managing Director, Mr Sadeeq A Mai Bornu, Manager-Corporate Security Service, Mr Samson Aiyejuro and Senior Security Adviser, Mr Kabiru Aminu, commended the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, for the assistance which the Nigerian Navy has continually provided in support of the NLNG’s operations in Bonny and along the Bonny Channel.
Speaking, the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibas, stated that the increased use of surveillance systems as well as Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) infrastructure in support of Nigerian Navy’s operations which have enormously enhanced Nigeria’s maritime security architecture.
Ibas acknowledged that “there were still some shadow zones or blind spots along the Nigerian coastline, stating that the Nigerian Navy had made representation to the Rivers State government for land to accommodate more MDA facilities.”
He said the Nigerian Navy has essentially had to expand its maritime operations into the backwaters in order to forestall other mutations of maritime crimes like crude oil theft, pipeline vandalism as well as sea robbery within the coastal areas and waters ways.
The CNS stated that the average transit time of two hours between Onne Port and Bonny has in the past hampered Nigerian Navy’s response capability to incidence of maritime crime in Bonny and would be desirable to have some jetty facilities for Nigerian Navy Ships in Bonny.
The CNS charged the NLNG team to proactively handle community relations in the Bonny area in line with its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in order to forestall restiveness and community agitations.
Ibas added that for the Nigerian Navy to effectively carry out her duties, there was the need to improved channel conservancy in Nigeria waters through dredging and buoyage.
He noted that the Escravos channel had recorded several grounding of ships in the last few months and was optimistic that this would be addressed by the Nigerian Ports Authority. ThisDay