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Navy installs towers to thwart oil thieves

25 December 2013, 17:00

Abuja - The Navy says it has installed eight automated, long range camera-equipped surveillance towers off the country’s coast.

Officials said this was part of effort to tackle the problem of oil theft.

Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba, the chief of naval staff, said the equipment was imported from Japan at the cost of about N2 billion and was equipped with high-frequency radio and long-range cameras which could spot ships up to 48 kilometers away.

The naval boss said the data collected from the tower was beamed to a central naval intelligence room where any incoming or outgoing ships’ registration, flag and other information are verified.

“From the domain awareness centre we can see ships from anywhere in the world coming or leaving our maritime space. It also gives you ability to ascertain the actual threat the vessel poses,” Ezeoba said.

He said four of the towers were in Lagos, one each at the Bonny and Brass crude export terminals, Yenagoa and in Ibaka in eastern Akwa Ibom State.

Ezeoba however added that Nigeria needed to continue to work on its capacity to pursue pirates and other criminal gangs.

Pirate attaaks off Nigeria have leaped by a third this year as ships passing through West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea, a major commodities route, have come under threat from gangs seeking to snatch cargoes or hold crews for ransom.

Oil theft in the Niger Delta has also seen a relentless rise, although analysts say this has only been possible because of collusion by the security forces.

- CAJ News


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