The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Eastern Naval Command, Rear Adm. Sanusi Ibrahim, has said that the command during the year arrested 25 vessels used in illegal bunkering within the Nigerian maritime domain.
Ibrahim said this in his welcome remarks on the occasion of the 2021 Eastern Naval Command ceremonial sunset held at NNS Jubilee in Ikot Abasi.
He said the ceremonial sunset is an age-old naval ceremony observed by navies the world over and the Nigerian Navy adopted it to mark the official end of all events in the year.
He said that the arrest was made possible due to sustained effective patrol of the command’s Area of Responsibility.
He explained that the sustained operations have led to considerable reduction in piracy within Nigeria maritime environment.
“The Command also sustained effective patrol of its maritime Area of Responsibility as well as undertook several clearance and swamp buggy operations in the backwaters.
“These operations resulted in considerable reduction of piracy in Nigeria’s maritime domains as well as led to the arrest of 25 vessels engaged in illegal bunkering, crude oil theft and other forms of maritime illegalities.
“This is in addition to the Command’s anti-smuggling efforts which led to the seizure of over 3, 062 bags of 50kg parboiled foreign rice,” Ibrahim said.
The flag officer added that the command also deactivated 117 illegal refining sites, evacuated about 38, 431 metric tons of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) and destroyed several pirates and kidnappers’ hideouts.
The FOC said that during the period, there was also infrastructure development across all Bases and units under Eastern Naval command with particular focus on enhancing security and improving on personnel welfare.
Ibrahim, however, reminded personnel not to rest on their oars, but always conduct themselves in accordance with the ethos and traditions of the Nigerian Navy and renew their commitment to national security.
“Personnel must be mindful of the National Pledge and the overarching needs of the oath of allegiance undertaken while joining the Service.
“Our loyalty to the President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces as well as the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria must be absolute.
“All hands must be on deck in addressing the challenges of insecurity in Nigeria. Our nation and indeed the citizens of this great country deserve more from us and as such, we cannot afford to fail the country,” he said.
He commended the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Auwul Gambo, for his strategic support to ensure the modest achievements recorded in the command.
In his remarks, the special guest of honour, Rear Adm. Francis Akpan (rtd) urged the personnel to maintain the highest level of discipline, professionalism and integrity at all times in the discharge of their mandate of protecting the territorial integrity of the nation.
Akpan, a former flag officer commanding Western Naval command commended the Eastern Naval command for the achievements recorded, especially in the area of infrastructure development.
He added that the age long ceremonial sunset event has afforded opportunity for retired and serving officers to come together, and also foster cordial relationships between officers of the Nigerian Navy and other security agencies.
The Commander NNS Jubilee, Commodore Olobode Fazaz, thanked the flag officer Eastern Naval command for giving them the opportunity to host the 2021 ceremonial sunset and all invited guest for honouring the invitation.