By OKOSUN DENNIS
As part of measures to checkmate maritime crimes in the nation’s coastal waters, especially the menace of piracy and smuggling, the Nigerian Navy has placed restriction order on the use of 200 horse power (HP) Outboard Engines on Nigerian waterways.
It was learnt that investigation by the force revealed that questionable characters whose interest are in breach of security in the waterways use this class of high powered engines to perpetuate crimes.
According to the Director, Naval Information (DINFO), Commodore Christian Odogwu Ezekobe said in Abuja on Thursday that those seafarers and companies that wish to acquire outboard engines in the capacity of 200 and above horse powers should register with the Nigerian Navy.
He explained that such registration and profiling; apart being free, would enable them know that only authorized persons and corporate organisations are allowed to use this class of engines on Nigeria’s coastal waters.
He said, “The measure is part of strategic efforts by the Service to ensure that the nation’s coastal waterways are secure for legitimate activities, especially now that pirates and other criminals use this high powered calibre engines to proceed into international waters within the Gulf of Guinea.
“It has also been observed that the criminals carry out their nefarious activities at sea with the aid of this class of engines which are mounted on boats stowed on mother ships.
“The Nigerian Navy and its maritime security partners especially Operation Pulo Shield in the Niger Delta have confiscated many boats with 200 horse power outboard engines. Some of the confiscated engines have been released to their owners after strict profiling exercises.”
He reiterated that the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas was working with various state governments of the coastal states to ensure that individuals and corporate organisations to ensure only authorised persons can use it. In addition, it will establish a credible data base of users of the boats fitted with these high calibre engines.
Nigerian Navy further assures that more proactive strategies have been launched by the Service and its maritime security partners to curb all forms of crimes and unwholesome activities in the maritime domain.