Nigerian Navy Gets Tough

The Chief of Nigerian Naval Staff has convened an international conference to deliberate solutions and outline future plans to bring maritime security to the region.

Piracy and Theft of Oil Soars as Nigerian Navy Gets Tough

The Chief of Naval Staff of Nigerian, Vice Admiral Dele Joseph Ezeoba, reacting to the crisis of piracy and oil theft in the Gulf of Guinea has convened an international conference on 27-29 August in Lagos to deliberate solutions and outline future plans to bring maritime security to the region.

The conference, dubbed Offshore Patrol Vessels Africa, will bring together many of the major military figures of the region, including senior Admirals from Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Angola, Tanzania, South Africa, Benin and Namibia and will discuss major themes such as methods of surveillance of the Gulf, investing in new naval vessels to deter pirates, and devising strategies to curb the flow of narcotics into Africa.

With the Nigerian Navy being the largest of the navies in West Africa, Admiral Ezeoba has taken the initiative and organise a high level forum which will also include expert admirals from the UAE, Malaysia and the European Union. Over thirty international defence companies will also convene and display advanced technology which could turn the tide in the fight for maritime security.

Rear Admiral E.O. Ogbor, Chief of Policy and Plans at the Nigerian Navy said:
“Undoubtedly, many littoral African countries have considerable oil and gas reserves, bountiful fisheries and viable Sea Lanes of Communication. Despite this, we can all agree that maritime insecurity and illegal activities at sea threaten to undermine the great potential of this continent and therefore no time can be spared in discussing and implementing decisive solutions to these our common problems.”

The scope of maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea alone amounts to staggering figures. The Christian Science Monitor estimates that over $2billion a year are lost due to piracy in the region, which now has more prevalence of attacks that Somalia.

Oil theft, which is a priority for the Nigerian government continues unabated, with Hon Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, a speaker at the conference, estimating in 2011 that the annual thefts amount to $7billion.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has estimated that narcotics smuggling activities generate approximately $3.34 billion a year. Cocaine trafficking is one of the most lucrative of these illicit activities. In fact, the U.S. government and the UNODC have estimated that about 13 percent of the global cocaine flow moves through West Africa.

More information on the conference can be found at www.offshorepatrolvesselsafrica.com.

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