By John Ikani
The Nigerian Navy on Friday commenced what is evidently its biggest operation aimed at putting an end to oil theft and illegal refining in the Niger Delta, with the deployment of 40 ships, five helicopters and 200 boats for “Operation Dakatar Da Barawo” (stop the thief) across the region.
Awwal Gambo, the country’s chief of naval staff, who spoke at the launch of the operation, blamed the nation’s economic downturn on attacks on oil and gas facilities by saboteurs.
He said about 40 warships, 200 gunboats, five helicopters, the Special Boat Service, and several other units would take part in the three-month operation.
According to him: “Operation Dakatar Da Bararwo would involve dominating the nation’s backwaters through aggressive and intelligence driven patrols.”
“It would also be dedicated to monitoring pipelines, block identified strategic estuaries to prevent conveyance of stolen crude oil from inshore to sea and to maintain credible presence along the coastline of areas prone to crude oil theft.
“The operation would also involve aerial surveillance, as well as insertion of special forces to conduct clearance operations”
The Naval Chief further disclosed that “Operation Dakatar Da Barawo” was in collaboration with Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) and that it confirms the Nigerian Navy and NNPC’s collective resolute and deep commitments to end the menace of crude oil theft, illegal oil refining and other insecurity within the nation’s maritime environment.