In order to meet operational needs and effectively police the waterways, the Nigerian Navy has placed order for two war ships from the Republic of China, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Joseph Ezeoba has revealed in Calabar.
He stated this while undertaking the annual inspection of naval facilities and formations in the Eastern Naval Command. The new ships, according to him, on delivery, would give the Navy the needed capacity and edge to effectively combat sea piracy and oil theft which are all acts of economic sabotage.
One ship would be launched in China in January 2014 and brought down while the second would be delivered second quarter of the year.
”To effectively combat our vast marine space, helicopters, open patrol vehicles, speed boats, and adequate manpower are needed; that is why we are taking delivery of these ships to beef up our defence and combat capacity”, he said.
Ezeoba commended the Eastern Naval Command for combating sea piracy and oil theft in the Gulf of Guinea to a reasonable level, which he noted has made the sea route along Calabar, Oron and Gabon relatively safe and secure.
“We have a mandate from the President of this nation to combat bunkering and piracy in the sea and the Eastern Naval Command has combated and reduced the incidences of sea piracy and oil theft to a very low level and this has made the Calabar Water Channel relatively safe”, he said.
He explained that the multi billion naira Naval Specialist Hospital in Calabar that was abandoned for over thirty years was nearing completion and would be commissioned in the first quarter of 2014.
“That facility has been abandoned for over thirty years and what I did yesterday was to take an on the spot assessment of work and from the state of work done so far, that project will be commissioned in the first quarter of 2014”, Ezeoba added.
He said from his assessment, the units and bases were stable which proves that the Nigerian Navy was operationally prepared to undertake any mission in any part of the world in terms of the efficiency of its personnel and equipment capacity.
The naval Chief inaugurated several projects in the Eastern Naval Command in Calabar including living quarters for offices, senior officers’ mess and clinic.