Navy Launches “Ex-EJA EXPRESSION” to Curb Illegal Fishing in Gulf of Guinea

The Western Naval Command Fourth Quarter Sea Exercise code-named EX EJA EXPRESSION will help to combat Illegal Unregulated and Unreported Fishing (IUUF) and other maritime crimes in the Gulf of Guinea.

The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command, Rear Adm. Mustapha Hassan, said that the exercise would include fleet manoeuvres and gunnery geared toward working up the ships in terms of warfighting.

The exercise was flagged off on Saturday by the FOC, Western Naval Doctrine Command, Rear Adm. Habilla Zakaria.

Hassan said that the name of the Ex was taken from both the Yoruba and English languages in which the first word “EJA” means fish in Yoruba language.

The exercise is a multi-faceted outing and the name gives an inclination of the ideas behind it.

“It is well known that Illegal Unregulated and Unreported Fishing (IUUF) is significant in the GuIf of Guinea.

“Therefore, to hone our skills in our policing role, we will train today on vertical insertion and Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure (VBSS) using our helicopters and interceptor boats,” he said.

The FOC added that other exercises like communication, and seamanship evolutions among others would also form part of the operation.

“The Western Naval Command is therefore launching this exercise to work up her ships and personnel in keeping up with our constitutional responsibilities.

“EX EJA EXPRESSION will greatly enhance the proficiency of Nigerian Navy personnel in the command and also enable us to test the operational state of our machinery,” Hassan said.

He said that the exercise was being carried out in collaboration with other stakeholders and government agencies such as the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Nigerian Police, and the Federal Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

“Having other governmental agencies participating will further provide the avenue for us to strengthen our level of interoperability and collaboration.

“This collaboration will help towards securing our waters and the common goal of promoting a vibrant blue economy,” the FOC said.

Hassan thanked the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Adm. Emmanuel Ogalla, for the unwavering support given to the Command to conduct the exercise and other operations in their area of responsibility.

“This has collectively provided a safer environment for economic activities to thrive.

“The Nigerian Navy remains committed and indeed the Western Naval Command toward providing the necessary conducive environment to carry out legitimate businesses in our waterways,” the FOC said

Also speaking, the FOC, Western Naval Doctrine Command, Rear Adm. Habilla Zakaria, who flagged off the exercise said that the exercise was to assess the fleet’s readiness to combat situations.

“The function of the Western Naval Doctrine Command is to conduct combat readiness assessments of all the fleets within the Nigeria Navy.

“This is to ensure that the fleets are always prepared to carry out their functions, whether during wartime or peacetime,” he said.

Zakaria said that the assessment would be based on conducting maritime operations, aspects of warfighting, and checking how the ships carry out exercises to evaluate their major operational readiness.

“In a nutshell, as a Naval Doctrine Command, we will assess and work on them, contributing to the combatant CNS exercises,” he said.

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