The Nigerian Navy, Eastern Naval Command has commissioned ten gunships and two helicopters in a bid to improve on its war against illegal oil bunkering and piracy in the Niger Delta region.

This was part of activities to mark the flag-off of Nigeria Navy's 3-day Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Annual Sea Inspection Exercise in Rivers State, on Sunday. The Command also commissioned four Tactical Operational Bases to provide support to its offshore personnel. 

Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral, Awwal Gambo flagged off the ceremony, code named "Exercise Quiet Waters" on board the NNS Okpabana at the Onne Coastline, near Port Harcourt, Rivers State. 

He said; "It is with great pleasure that I welcome you all to the flag-Off ceremony of the CNS Annual Sea Inspection for the Year 2021, codenamed "EXERCISE QUIET WATERS", we are having Ten Capital Ships and two helicopters for the exercise. We also have the special boat service for the special forces of the Nigerian Navy. 

"For the first time, we are going to have Operational bases and four operating bases to be conducted back water exercises to be operating simultaneously with the operation we have at sea for the next three days which had already been flagged off by me."

He also stated that the essence of the operation was to revalidate the capabilities of the Nigerian Navy, adding that the exercise was in tandem with the mandate of President Mohammadu Buhari in creating a conducive environment for maritime business to flourish in the country.

"The CNS Annual Sea Inspection is aimed at assessing the operational readiness of the NN fleet ranging from operational capabilities, logistics support and personnel training among other assessment criteria. 

"On assumption of Command, one of my cardinal priorities was to improve the operational efficiency of the Nigerian Navy's fleet in terms of sea readiness and availability for operational deployments in order to speedily boost our capacity to meet our constitutional maritime obligations. This aligns with the Presidential mandate, for a conducive environment for maritime business to flourish."

The CNS further stressed that the exercise would also revitalize the vigor of the Naval personnel in their fight against crimes on the Nigerian waterways.

"Accordingly, this year's inspection provides a platform for operational review that seeks to more firmly orient Nigeria Navy training objectives with the delivery of operational capabilities in line with my Vision, Mission Statement and Strategic Directives.

"It is also pertinent to state that the Inspection comes against the backdrop of the remarkable strides attained in the significant reduction in cases of piracy and sea robbery in our maritime environment and the need to sustain the strategic momentum in our fight against maritime crimes. 

"However, given the dynamic nature of maritime threats, the exercise is also intended to revise our operational deployments to reinvigorate the strategic deterrence posture and influence of the fleet in the defence of the nation's maritime environment."

On his part, the flag officer commanding Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral Sanusi Ibrahim, said the operation was also an avenue for operatives of the Navy to align themselves the operational requirements of the Navy, as well as the mission, vision and direction of the Chief of Naval Staff.

"The Chief of Naval Staff sea inspection is an annual programme in the Nigeria Navy which provides the opportunity for the Chief of Naval Staff to access operational readiness and responsiveness of Nigerian Navy fleet and level of sea worthiness. 

"The operation also provides an opportunity for the Nigerian Navy Maritime Operation to remain consistent with the Chief of Naval Staff vision, mission statement and strategic directives", he said. 

This years edition ends on Monday. 

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