By GODWIN ORITSE

FOLLOWING the renewed fight against crude oil theft , Global West Vessels Specialist has acquired 12 brand new amoured patrol boats to further boost the firm?s moves against the activities of crude oil thieves.

Speaking at the launching of the boats in Lagos, Global West Managing Director, Captain Romeo Itima, said that the boats are the best in their class.

The launch of the boats also coincided with the visit of the members of the House of Representatives Committee on Marine Transport who were at the Headquarters of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for their oversight function.

Itima stated that the deployment of these boats would definitely eliminate or reduce the percentage of the nation?s crude oil to thieves who have formed a cartel.

Although, Itima was silent on the cost of the boats, he, however, stated that the first four boats namely ?NIMASA Port-Harcourt? , ?NIMASA Lagos?, ?NIMASA Burutu? and ? NIMASA Warri? were still being test run as at the time of filling this report.

One of the Spaniards told Vanguard that each of the boats with all the gadgets mounted on it cost about E900,000 .00 that is about N168million.

The Spanish made vessels are also to be militarised for efficient survey of the nation?s coastal and territorial waters.

Already, the Spaniards who came with the boats to Nigeria have also concluded plans to train some Nigerians on the effective and efficient manning of the boats. Vanguard, however, gathered that most of the boys being trained to man the boats were former foot soldiers of the Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND).

Each of the boats has an engine capacity of 1,200 horse power and can go 50 nautical miles into the sea and has a sitting capacity of about 12 passengers.

Itima disclosed that a total of 27 boats are to be acquired at the end of the entire project, adding that government will not only get more revenue from the sale of crude oil but it would add value to the economy.

Vanguard, however, gathered that the purchase of the boats were funded through a bank facility from a maritime friendly bank in Nigeria. The purchase of the boats is the part of the N16billion maritime security contract awarded to former militant leader, Chief Government Ekpemupolo (Alia tompolo) by the federal government.

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