Shipping, Oil Industry Prosperity Hinges On Navy Recapitalisation | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Shipping, Oil Industry Prosperity Hinges On Navy Recapitalisation

Posted: Aug 10, 2015 at 12:39 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Andrew Airahuobhor,Lagos

With the high rate of crude oil theft occurring in the country’s oil and gas industry, in excess of 400,000 barrels, coupled with yawning gaps in equipment to effectively police Nigeria territorial waters, the Nigerian Navy is seemingly overwhelmed.

The country has 853 km coastline and an entire maritime waters of 210,900 km2 including the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ); to effectively carry out surveillance, the Navy requires 48 helicopters, but currently have five.

Also, it has less than 70 patrol boats instead of 570 required to be able to have effective presence in all the areas.

“If you say overwhelmed, that means we have lost. We haven’t. If we have been able to cut down from two million to 400,000 barrels, that means we have been able to do something, but we can do better,” Rear Adm. Charles Obiora Medani, chief of Policy and Plans said at a national television programme monitored in Lagos.

He said it is better to recapitalise the Navy considering the quantum of what is being lost and the investment needed to be made to recapitalise.

He said if between 10 and 20 per cent of value of what the country is losing is put into resourcing the Navy, it will have a dramatic impact.

The Navy would need about N92 billion for operating cost with international best practice requiring that 30 percent of value of a ship should be budgeted annually for maintenance.

“The last time the country made investment in the Navy was in the 1970/1980s. the investment is a huge decision that has to be made and it is very critical”, he said

He noted that two of the ships commissioned by the former President Goodluck Jonathan recently “are already 30 years old.”

This means that the average age of Naval ship is 35 years, which is the lifespan of a ship internationally.

Meanwhile, the government budgeted N836,016,773,836 in 2010, (which translates to $5.07 billion at 165 naira to a dollar) for the military.

In 2011 the amount ballooned to N1,080,894,801,178 ($6.55 billion). In 2012 it increased to N1,154,857,159,110.00 ($6.99 billion). It increased even more in 2013 to N1,178,832,576,309 ($7.14 billion). Last year, it was scaled down a bit to N1,174,897,477,334.00 ($7.12 billion).