The United States of America has handed over maritime equipment to the Nigerian Navy to secure maritime threats in the Gulf of Guinea and also promote bilateral relations between both nations.
This was disclosed by Claire Pierangelo, Consular General, U. S. Embassy, and Rear Adm. Oladele Daji, Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command (WNC) represented by Rear Adm. Tanko Pani, the Chief Staff Officer, during the handover ceremony on Friday.
Rear Adm. Tanko Pani, the Chief Staff Officer, said:
“Today, we are witnessing the ceremonial hand over of Regional Maritime Awareness Capability (RMAC) equipment and spares to the NN, as part of measures to re-activate and sustain the operations of the RMAC facilities donated to the NN some years ago. This will greatly mitigate the operational deficiencies occasioned by lack of spares in the recent past.
“It is pertinent to state that the introduction of the RMAC facilities in the NN has greatly assisted in enhancing our maritime policing efforts through intelligent based patrols. It reduces the cost of logistics, which hitherto was the case when we go on blind patrols looking for targets of opportunity.”
He also said that the U. S. had supported in enhanced human capacity development of personnel of Armed Forces with various courses and training in U.S. institutions amongst others, stating that the U.S Military had worked with the Nigerian Armed Forces in various courses and training in U.S. institutions.
“In the areas of support to the NN, the U.S. has assisted as follows: Transfer of 4 x US CG Buoy Tenders under the transfer of excess defence article from 2003 – 2004. Transfer of 2 x USCG Cutters between 2011 – 2014 and establishment of RMAC centres across the 3 operations commands of the NN amongst others.”
Claire Pierangelo, Consular General, U. S. Embassy, said the US Government is supporting the Nigerian Navy with equipment to secure the threats in the Gulf of Guinea, especially with rising piracy.
“This event signifies the strong and enduring relationship that our nations have. The equipment that we have here today is just part of it. It’s part of the regional maritime capability or the Ramack that began in 2006. It is aimed at enhancing the navy to monitor and respond to diverse maritime threats in Nigerian waters and in the Gulf of Guinea.
The U. S. is committed to supporting the navy and its effort to secure its territorial waters but also the larger Gulf of Guinea. You are uniquely placed here and your responsibilities are greater than many of your neighbouring countries.
The ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reported a rise in piracy and armed robbery on the world’s seas in the first nine months of 2020, with a 40% increase in the number of kidnappings reported in the Gulf of Guinea.
IMB’s latest global piracy report details 132 attacks since the start of 2020, up from 119 incidents in the same period last year.
Of the 85 seafarers kidnapped from their vessels and held for ransom, 80 were taken in the Gulf of Guinea – in 14 attacks reported off Nigeria, Benin, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Ghana.
The Nigerian Air force has also been on an acquisition mission lately with the recent announcements of Air Force joining China and the UAE to announce the acquisition of 2 WingLoong II Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV).
The Nigerian Air Force also said that six of the twelve A-29 Super Tucano fighter jets had been produced and a were being employed for the conversion training of six NAF pilots who are in the USA.
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