Nigeria’s Joint Task Force receives 30 patrol boats

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Nigeria’s Joint Task Force (JTF), which is tasked with combating oil theft and other maritime crime in the Niger Delta, has taken delivery of 30 boats to bolster its forces.

The Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, on Tuesday inaugurated the vessels procured by the Defence Headquarters for the JTF’s Operation Pulo Shield. He said the boats would help the JTF combat oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the Delta.

Badeh said, “Aside from curtailing oil theft, these boats would come in very handy during the forthcoming 2015 polls as the troops would use these boats to dominate the creeks as a warning to would be trouble makers,” Nigerian publication Punch quoted him as saying.

He said the contract for the boats was awarded to Epenal Group and its subsidiary Epenal Boat Builders, which manufactures glass fibre reinforced boats in Nigeria. These are mostly small boats around 10 metres in length. Badeh added that local company Roshannal Info Tech Limited was also involved in the contract.

JTF Commander, Major General Emmanuel Atewe, said that within the period he assumed command of the JTF, over 157 vessels had been seized and 500 oil pipeline vandals had been arrested while 300 boats had been destroyed, The Nation reports.