Nigeria: Navy partners with Italy to fight piracy, crude oil theft
BY CHIEMELIE EZEOBI
LAGOS -- To curtail the rising tide of maritime illegalities, like piracy and crude oil theft, especially in the Gulf of Guinea, as well as boost the economy of both countries involved, the Nigerian Navy (NN) has partnered its Italian counterpart in training and maritime security. The Italian Navy had stormed Nigeria with one of its massive warship under the 30 Italian Naval Group, comprising the Cavour aircraft carrier, the Etna supply ship, the Bergamini frigate and the Borsini patrol ship, with a crew of 1,200 sailors and marines, including 100 women.
Beside training, the visit, which was timed to fit into the centenary celebration, was also an avenue to boost investments and trade relations between both countries, as well as strengthen diplomatic and bilateral ties. While speaking aboard the ship, which is berthing at the Nigeria Ports Authority, Lagos, Apapa, Italian Ambassador Stefano De Leo said there is room for the exchanging of information between both countries.
He said the mission of the naval group, in a campaign tagged, ‘A country on the move,’ has seen them visit 19 countries and 20 ports, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, South Africa, Congo, Angola, Kenya, Dubai and Mozambique, among others.
Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Sam Alade, said the Nigerian Navy has stepped up its training program, and has developed strategies to reposition the service to tackle emerging challenges. He said this was in line with the vision and mission of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin, adding that the service is ready to combat oil theft, illegal bunkering and piracy in the maritime domain.