The Nigerian Navy has engaged its officers on board 6 warships as well as 60 gunboats, in a special military exercise code named ‘Sanga Sung’ to confront pirates, oil smugglers and other criminal activities thriving in the nation’s waters.
Rear Admiral David Adeniran, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command, Calabar announced the deployment at the flag-off of the exercise in Onne, Rivers State. Said he, “physically on ground, we have six major ships that would be going out to sea as well as 60 gunboats participating in Exercise Sanga Sung,”
The two-days earmarked for the exercise according to Adeniran is aimed at consolidating on earlier exercises- Bekan Mmon I and II, which held on the territorial waters of Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ebonyi and Rivers states, under the Eastern Naval Command.
The FOC hinted that Operation “Bekan Mmon” conducted in 2018 and 2019 recorded huge successes, leading to the arrest of over 600 suspected oil thieves and pirates and the destruction of over 200 illegal refining sites. Specifically, he said ‘no fewer than 11,000 metric tonnes of stolen crude oil as well as over 15,000 metric tones of illegally refined diesel were recovered during the exercise.’
He said, “Exercise Sanga Sung is one of the numerous operational engagements that the Eastern Naval Command is currently undertaking to safeguard the nation’s maritime environment. The purpose of the exercise is to check the state of preparedness of our fleets and training of our personnel.”
The FOC equally disclosed that personnel of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigerian Immigration Service, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Nigerian Customs Service would also participate in the exercise.
“Also, there are so many personnel involved in this exercise from our naval headquarters, Defence headquarters, Western Naval Command and Central Naval Command, among others, he added.
And justifying the collaboration he said, “The other security agencies are participating in the exercise knowing that safety and security of our maritime environment cannot be provided by a single security agency.
He then sought for the support of stakeholders to ensure a secured and peaceful maritime environment warning criminals to desist from perpetrating crimes in the nation’s maritime space.