The Eastern Naval Command (ENC) of the Nigerian Navy said, Sunday, in Calabar that it arrested no fewer than 30 ships under its operating bases in the last six months.
The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), ENC Rear Admiral Henry Babalola, listed the bases as Calabar, Ibaka, Oron, Bonny, Ikot Abasi and Port Harcourt.
Babalola, who spoke during the regimental dinner, after the bi-annual sea exercise, which took place between May 12 and 14, said the ships were arrested while conveying adulterated crude oil and other stolen petroleum products.
Babalola said that the arrests were made possible due to the steady patrol of Navy personnel along the water ways.
“In the last six months, I think we have arrested well over 30 ships and boats and our men have been on steady patrol and we have destroyed several illegal refineries in our operating bases.
“When we arrest a ship, we go further to investigate their patrons and hand them over to the relevant government agencies, like the civil defence and others for necessary action,” he said.
He said that the sea inspection was a normal routine exercise of the Navy to secure the economic assets of the country and other multi-million dollars off shore investments and platforms.
“The important of this exercise is that we continue to maintain a continuous presence in our maritime environment, to give confidence to legal and useful users of the maritime sector.
“Our presence at the sea is enough security for maritime operators. The exercise also helps us to know the status of our ships and machinery breakdown.
“The major security challenges we are having is the issue of kidnapping along the waterways. The Chief of Naval Staff in his wisdom allocated some new patrol boats to help us curb this ugly challenge,” he said.
The FOC assured legal maritime operators of adequate security, adding that the Navy would not relent in patrolling the water ways.