To combat piracy, oil theft and vandalism of critical oil and gas installations at the nation’s maritime environment, the Nigerian Navy has deployed four warships and 3,400 troops to the Niger Delta.

The Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command, Rear Adm. James Oluwole, announced the deployment, codenamed “Exercise Sharkbite” yesterday in Onne, Rivers.

According to Oluwole, the warships deployed for the exercise were the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Okpabana, NNS Ologbo, NNS Burutu, NNS Sagbama, and a naval Augusta helicopter, while the 3,400 personnel comprised 3,000 ratings and 400 officers.

Oluwole noted that the two-day exercise would also serve as avenue to check combat readiness of troops to tackle militant attacks on oil and gas installations, which plunged the nation into recession.

He disclosed that the exercise covers 24,000 nautical miles between Rivers and Cross River states coastal areas, and that it would boost socioeconomic activities at the nation’s maritime domain.

He said: “This exercise was informed by worsening vandalism of critical oil and gas infrastructure by militants, which has plunged the nation into recession.

He said the exercise would not interfere with legitimate activities of oil companies and seafarers; movement of commuters and other economic activities at sea and creeks in the region

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