The Nigerian navy has intensified efforts to ensure safety of the maritime industry by taking measures to apprehend criminals on the sea.
The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok Ibas stated this while hosting the Nigerian Ship Owners Association in his office in Abuja.
While urging the ship owners against the use of their vessels for crude oil theft, he said any suspect caught would be treated saboteurs who deserved stiff penalties.
The naval chief remarked that, “while acknowledging that the majority of your member are carrying out legitimate business out there and like any other society you still have some bad elements that are perhaps dragging your name back, dragging the reputation back.
“It is in this light that I will appeal to you as executive members of the association to warn your members who try to undermine the state to desist from such acts that are inimical to the development of our nation.”
The naval chief noted that any nation that is blessed with the seas ought to utilise the benefits for developing its people, thus stressing the need all the stakeholders to be able to come together to collaborate to ensure a secured environment for business to strive.
According to him, that the association has contributed immensely to the development of the country, stressing that due to the realisation of the role the association plays in the development of the nation that made the meeting apt and relevant.
Earlier in his remarks, the president of the Ship Owners Association, Capt. Niyi Labinjo (rtd) said that the association has 103 ship owning companies and 98 non-ship owning companies
Labinnjo said that the association would continue to collaborate with law enforcement agencies towards curbing the excesses of criminal elements in the maritime industry.
He stated: “The Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Ship Owners Association, we are indeed two wings of the same bird, firstly, both of us operate in the same milieu at sea maritime, secondly, you are the fighting navy, we are the merchants navy, the merchant navy and the fighting navy come together for a strong
“Without a fighting navy, for a country that has maritime domain, the country itself will be over run, without the merchant navy to bring in those essential goods necessary for both sustenance of lives and development, the country will also be in trouble, that is why I said we are two wings of the same bird,” he added.