By: Joy Odor/Abuja
The Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas has called on navies in the West African Sub-Region to develop a common network that will facilitate greater integration for seamless information sharing across the entire sub-region.
Vice Admiral Ibas gave the charge at the opening ceremony of the 60th Anniversary of the Ghana Navy in a Press statememt.
He emphasized that it would be expedient for member countries to reduce the bureaucracy required to share information, train personnel in common official language used by member nations as well as develop and share data regarding convicted offenders of maritime crimes.
The measures, the CNS said, would enhance maritime operations and the collective desire to rid the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) of criminality within the shortest possible time.
While reiterating the commitment of the Nigerian Navy (NN) to emplace a secure maritime environment for the prosperity of Nigeria, the GoG countries and the global commons in general, Vice Admiral Ibas noted that the availability of the Regional Maritime Domain Awareness-MDA Training School in Lagos-Nigeria is another prospect to be harnessed by member countries.
He highlighted some NN independent operational engagements established to check criminality at sea, including Operation TSARE TEKU and Operation RIVER SWEEP, stating that since the activation of the anti-piracy operation 3 years ago, there has been a successive decline in reported cases of pirate, sea robbery attacks within Nigeria’s maritime domain.
The CNS pointed out that apart from the 2 specifically designed operations, NN has continued to conduct policing patrols across the nation’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and territorial waters employing the advantage of its MDA infrastructure to coordinate and direct the pattern of patrols.
Vice Admiral Ibas stressed that the Service recently signed an MoU on white shipping with the Indian Navy, has applied to join the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium and participated in the establishment of a mechanism for sharing maritime information with regional navies and maritime regulatory agencies at the Maritime Trade Information Sharing Centre in Ghana.
He therefore opined that the strategic partnerships have the potential to increase NN domain awareness across both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, with positive impact on surveillance capacity to facilitate NN policing duties.