Nigerian Navy receives Italian Ship NAVE BORSINI on sustained strategies for GoG security
The Nigerian Navy on Tuesday received the Italian Navy Ship NAVE BORSINI which was on a port call to Lagos, as part of its itinerary for the continued cooperation for the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) security.
The Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral YB Wambai, received the Italian Ambassador to Nigeria, HE Stefano De Leo, who led a delegation of the Ship’s company on a courtesy visit to his office in Apapa, Lagos.
The Commanding Officer Italian Navy Ship, Commader Carlo Corso, had in his company the Italian Consul in Lagos, Ugo Boni
Ambassador De Leo told newsmen that the visit was to strengthen existing bilateral relations between Nigeria and Italy.
He disclosed that the Italian ship actually came within the framework of anti-piracy initiatives to secure the Gulf of Guinea, while improving on cooperation as part of the working strategies.
He said: “Our vessel came in the framework of the anti-piracy initiative to visit Lagos. We came as friends and to increase our existing cooperation between both navies and to improve our relations.
“So, we discussed as partners and friends, also improve our commitment to ensure security in the Gulf of Guinea. We are actually visiting to explore ways to further our relations.”
He spoke on the importance of cooperation, particularly with navies of the region in tackling piracy, and the benefit of recognising great works being done by the local navies.
“It is important to work together. Our ships in GoG are here in cooperation with other European Union countries. But, we have learnt that the success is a shared issue without the cooperation of the navies of the countries in the GoG.
“So, we are here always, to pay a courtesy visit to listen to you and to see how we can improve cooperation, because we are in your country and you have ownership, you have the hospitality. We have come in the spirit of being brothers, brothers in the navy.
“I have to highlight your efficiency, your will of cooperating with us; I have to highlight that we are here working together as the motto of the Navy says.”
In his remark, Admiral Wambai also affirmed the friendship of both navies, “The Nigerian Navy has been friends with the Italian Navy and both have had a long-standing friendship.”
He noted that the visit, while fostering the relationship, would keep “Communication and shipping open through a coordinated maritime presence that is an agreement between the European Union states and the Gulf of Guinea nations via the Yaoundé Security Architecture.”
The FOC West also recalled that cooperation made it possible for Nigeria to make significant successes felt in the Gulf of Guinea, a reason why the nation was delisted from the list of piracy-prone states.
He, therefore, charged the Italian Ship company on the need to make the Nigerian Navy a first responder, should there be any reason to do so.
“When Nigeria was delisted from the list of piracy-prone states, it was not just Nigeria; it was a combined effort that made it possible. So, we continue to partner with our friendly nations, cooperate and work hand-in-hand to keep the sea-lane of communication to keep the sea as safe as possible.
“With your presence at sea there, keep your attention on the alert and let us keep the communication flowing to avoid any incidents.
“You will conduct an exercise with our people and if you see anything or in doubt, keep the channel and let us be the first responder. If we hear anything outside, it means we are not working together. We need the local cooperation. If we were not working, the piracy drop would not have been achieved.
“We have been trading with the Italian navy and we want to foster the spirit of awareness and be able to also learn new things. It will be great to have younger officers sail with you, if the opportunity is granted, it will surely help,” Admiral Wambai said.
Both navies look forward to a rewarding time together on the exercise.