By Modupe Oremule
The Nigerian and the Italian navies have successfully completed a three-day exercise tagged ‘EXERCISE SHARK SHIVER’ in order to promote bilateral relations and strengthen regional cooperation.
The Italian Frigate ‘FEDRERICO MARTINENGO conducted the exercise which began on Nov. 24 and ended Nov. 26 with five Nigerian ships and a detachment of Special Boat Service.
These ships include: NNS PROSPERITY, NNS KARADUWA, NNS NGURU, NNS EKULU and NNS OSE as well as a detachment of Special Boat Service.
Rear Adm. Oladele Daji, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command who was represented by Rear Adm. T. Y. Pani, said that the exercise was rewarding as it impacted positively on the proficiency of personnel.
“The Exercise also provided the platform to align our training objectives with our operational requirements in furtherance of the mission of the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ette Ibas.
“Additionally, it also provided a test-bench for the planning and execution of coordinated strike capabilities and assessment of some of our planning assumptions,” he said.
Some of the Exercises conducted include: Anti-Piracy Operations, Rig Protection, fleet manoeuvre, communication, Vessel Board Search and Seizure, Search and Rescue among others.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Daji at the opening of the exercise said that the issue of maritime crime had international dimensions could be characterised as a global challenge.
“As you may be aware, the issue of maritime crime has international dimensions and could be characterised as a global challenge.
“This global challenge therefore requires a globally framed response and collaboration. In recent times, the trend has taken new dimension where criminals carry out these atrocities outside the shores of Nigeria and thereafter, relocate to parts of our countries as safe havens to perpetrate their heinous crimes,” he said.
Daji said that the Command in the past had intercepted some of these criminals in Nigeria water ways.
“For instance, the 10 suspected pirates that hijacked the Chinese fishing vessel HAILUFENG 11 and others were intercepted by Nigerian Navy deployments under THE ECOWAS ZONE E maritime protocols of the Yaoundé accord.
“The case is currently been prosecuted in the law court under the recently enacted suppression of piracy laws.
“Looking at the current scenario, the activities of pirates in the Gulf of Guinea in particular is following the same dimension,” he said.
Tarek Chazli, the deputy head of Mission commended the NN especially the WNC for its efficiency, commitment and high skill.
“As the representative of the Embassy of Italy, I can say we are witnessing the conclusion of indeed very successful joint exercise which we were able to combine in spite of the difficulties of this Coronavirus time.
“I want to salute the magnificent job done by the NN particularly the Western Naval Command. Over three days, I have the chance together with my team to witness the efficiency, commitment and high skill of the NN.
“What we have done is only a small part of a larger effort to combine our forces to fight common trans-national, international issues like piracy etc,” he said.
Chazil said that his country looked forward to better collaboration.
“Italy now has a standing commitment to security of this part of the world. MARTINENGO has been in the sea for four months, the success of our joint exercise has guaranteed that more collaboration will follow.
“We are very confident that next year, we will have longer presence and closer collaboration,” he said.