The Spanish Ambassador to Nigeria Juan Ignacio Sell at the weekend said that the Nigerian Navy has the key to end piracy and other maritime crimes within the West African coast.
He spoke while commending the Nigerian Navy for ensuring the delisting of Nigeria from the list of pirate prone countries.
The Ambassador, while commending the force said that every year, Spain deploys two combat vessels to the West African coast to give Nigeria strong solidarity in its fight against piracy and other maritime crimes.
Ambassador Juan Sells spoke while leading a team of top diplomatic staff of the embassy and the Commanding Officer of the Spanish warship, SNS BAM RELAMPAGO to Western Naval Command, saying that the essence of the deployment is for Spain to coordinate itself with Navies of the West African coast for solidarity and to further the interest of Spain.
Sell applauded the Nigerian Navy for ensuring that the incidences of piracy were brought down dramatically, urging the Nigerian Navy to ensure sustenance of this feat.
Responding , the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Yakubu Wambai said that the Nigerian Navy and other Gulf of Guinea countries have agreed to set up a combined taskforce, to ensure that piracy is completely stamped out within the region.
The FOC who was represented by the Chief Staff Officer Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Hamza Kaoje said: “We also know that you are interested in events at the Gulf of Guinea because of your participation, We also know that the last time the EU delegation came here, you were part of it and we are happy because of the collaboration going on and because of continued relationship with international partners.
“Nigeria is happy it has been delisted from the list of pirates prone countries. I want to assure you that Nigeriais working to maintain and even improve on the present status.
“To that effect, recently the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo visited France and the issue of Gulf of Guinea was seriously discussed and at the last maritime conference in Nigeria, Nigeria and other Gulf of Guinea countries agreed that they are going to form a combined taskforce, just to maintain the status and also ensure the safety of other littoral states in the Gulf of Guinea.”
The FOC also asked for training slots and for assistance in terms of equipment to enable the Nigerian Navy continue and sustain the fight against piracy, and other maritime crime within the West African coast.
Relampago an offshore patrol boat set sail from its home port in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, as part of the Maritime Operational Command (MOM in Spanish) under the operational control of the Operations Command (MOPS in Spanish), to conduct a maritime surveillance mission in within the Gulf of Guinea.
Its main objective is guaranteeing the security of maritime areas of national interest and jurisdiction. The ship will carry out various activities related to the knowledge of the maritime environment, including verification and control of maritime traffic, supervision of fishing activity and protection of the most important maritime lines of communication in the area, in coordination with the Maritime Action Operations and Surveillance Center (COVAM in Spanish).