By Thenigerian

The Nigerian Navy has said about $70 million is lost annually to illegal and unregulated fishing in Nigeria, adding that crude oil theft, illegal bunkering and other sea crimes have been the problems confronting the force within the country’s maritime environment.

Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Sylvanus Abbah, stated this while addressing student of the United States War College on a study tour to Nigeria, at the naval base in Lagos.

Addressing the students through the Chief Staff Officer of the Western Naval Command Apapa, Rear Admiral Oladele Daji, Abbah disclosed that the most culpable in the illegal and unreported fishing within the country’s territorial waters, were Chinese vessels, which stray into the area to fish illegally.

Daji and some other principal officers received the students, numbering about nine at the naval base.

The FOC assured that efforts have been put in place to ensure that these illegal unreported and unregulated fishing stop, adding that some vessels without permit to fish within the country’s territory have been arrested.

Similarly, the navy said that that within the period 2011 and 2018, no fewer than 215 cases of sea robberies have been handled by the force and 175 vessels also arrested.

The vessels were said to be involved in the transportation of stolen crude oil and crimes that were frowned at by the force.

According to Abbah, “this visit is to strengthen relations between the U.S. military and the Nigeria Armed Forces.

“For now, the oil still drives most of our economic activities and we believe that anything that tends to harm this particular sector is economic sabotage.

“Patrol efforts of the command have led to the reduction of maritime theft and illegality.”

Leader of the delegation, Captain Corey Ray, told journalists that the visit was aimed at strengthening cooperation between the military of both countries.

He said:  “Part of our curriculum in War College is looking at Nigeria’s economic growth, prosperity and opportunities, and this is why we are in Nigeria.

“We have other students travelling around the world this week to Germany, China and Japan, so this is part of the students who came to Nigeria.”