The Nigerian Navy has deployed four warships and 3,400 troops to tackle piracy, oil theft and vandalism of critical oil and gas installations at the nation’s maritime environment. Rear Adm. James Oluwole, the Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command, announced the deployment, codenamed “Exercise Sharkbite’’ on Thursday in Onne, Rivers. The warships deployed for the exercise were the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Okpabana, NNS Ologbo, NNS Burutu, NNS Sagbama, and a naval Augusta helicopter. He said that the two-day exercise would also serve as avenue to check combat readiness of troops to tackle militant attacks on oil and gas installations which plunged the nation into recession.
Oluwole said the exercise which covers 24,000 nautical miles between Rivers and Cross Rivers states coastal areas sought to boost socio-economic activities at the nation’s maritime domain. He said the exercise would not interfere with legitimate activities of oil companies and seafarers; movement of commuters and other economic activities at sea and creeks in the region. According to him, the exercise follows a recent operation, Operation Tsare Teku III, launched by the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Ibok Ete-Ibas which sought to prevent attacks on merchant ships. “The 3,400 personnel participating in this exercise comprised 3,000 ratings and 400 officers,” he said.
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