by crossriverwatch admin
The immediate past Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral Joe Aikhomu has disclosed that shortage of small arms and ammunition as well as potable ballistics life-jackets, amongst others have been a major challenge to naval operations in the last one year.
Rear Admiral Aikhomu, however said despite the challenge the command under his watch was able to bring cases of sea robbery, crude oil theft, pipeline vandalism and piracy, amongst others, under control.
He spoke at the headquarters of the Eastern Naval Command in Calabar while handing over to the new FOC of the Command, Rear Admiral Harry Ngonadi.
The Former FOC said, “The major challenges facing the command include inadequate platforms for the fleet and the operational bases; shortage of small arms and ammunition; and potable ballistics life-jackets; irregular supply of products to operation bases; spares for ships; manpower shortage especially seaman junior officers and junior ratings of all branches, amongst others”.
Aikhomu said during his one year tenure, the Eastern Naval Command of the Nigeria Navy has been able to contain to a large extent the activities of sea robbers, closed down illegal refineries and mitigate sea piracy.
On his part, the new FOC, Rear Admiral Harry Ngonadi shortly after taking over assured communities along the nation’s maritime boundary of adequate security from sea robbers and piracy.
He said it was the responsibility of the Navy to protect the citizens in riverine communities, who are largely marine agriculturalists and traders, as well as other businesses including the nation’s oil installations in coastal areas.
“We are here to do a job to the interest and benefit of mankind and indeed in line with the transformation agenda of the President of Nigeria as well as the vision of the leadership of the Nigerian Navy”, said Ngonadi.
“The ENC is the under belly of the nation’s economy. A lot has been entrusted on our shoulders and we must not buckle. We must perform the assignment with zeal and the zest to be at the top”. He said.
The ENC covers a sea area of about 24, 000 square meters, stretching from Latitude 6 degree, 30 minutes East to Longitude 8 degrees 30 minutes East with a coast line of about 120 nautical miles along Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Rivers state up to the 200 nautical miles seaward limit of Nigerian territory.
It is home to 12 crude oil terminals, over 60 flow stations, and about 500 oil fields, one liquefied natural gas plant, 2 refineries and 3 major seaports as well as one oil-and-gas free zone, one export processing zone, 2 regional maritime awareness centers amongst several economic treasures of Nigeria and other Gulf of Guinea countries.
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