The Nigerian Navy yesterday inaugurated 16 newly acquired warships and boats, and immediately deployed them to safeguard key oil installations in the oil rich Niger Delta region and the West African maritime domain.

The deployment was to further solidify the presence of the Nigerian Navy around the Gulf of Guinea and to also curb activities of pirates’ attacks on key installations and merchant vessels disrupting economic activities at the West African maritime domain.

These boats, the navy said, would be deployed to protect critical oil installations in the Niger Delta as well as for joint operations and patrols of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) maritime zone E.

In his address, the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ette Ibas, said the latest additions have increased the navy’s platforms acquisition in the last two years to over 200.

Noting that the navy has the challenging task of safeguarding the country’s maritime interests, Ibas said the service, in keeping with the realities, conducts frequent re-invention.

Also at the event were Defence Minister Mansur Dan-Ali; Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru Usani; Inspector General of Police (IG), Ibrahim Idris; Chairman, Senate Committee on Navy, Isa Misau; Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on the Navy, Abdulsamad Dasuki, and Director General, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman, heads of military and paramilitary institutions in Lagos as well as captains of industries.