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Nigerian Customs unveil 18 creeks patrol boats to curb smuggling



Nigerian Customs unveil 18 creeks patrol boats to curb smuggling

The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) on Thursday launched 18 patrol boats to curb the activities of smugglers who use the streams and waterways as a safe haven for their illegal trade.

Retired Colonel Hameed Ali, Comptroller General of Customs, inaugurated the ships at Port Harcourt.

He said the 18 Creeks patrol boats, made up of nine logistics support boats and nine gunboats whose parts were armoured, should send clear signals to criminals that “the game is up.”

He said: “Unlike before, we now have flat-bottomed boats that can access streams even when the water has receded.

“Adding these ships to the Service Marine arsenal at a time when more smugglers are fleeing heat from land to water is just the right thing to do.

“This event undoubtedly marks the beginning of a renewed offensive against those who have chosen the creeks and waterways as a safe haven for their illegal trade.

“In line with the 2017 Local Content Executive Order, NCS harnessed the ingenuity of a Nigerian company, SEWA, to design, build and construct these buildings.

“As you can see, these boats are not only built with our climate and circumstances in mind, they can compete with similar boats built anywhere in the world.”

According to the head of NCS, the relationship between NCS and SEWA represents excellent examples of what Nigerians can achieve when we come together.

“Therefore, I congratulate SEWA for keeping their promise and I have no hesitation in recommending them to people or organizations that need what they are capable of producing.

“In commissioning these ships to be deployed to the waters of the South (Navy Commands East and West), I urge our Navy Operatives to use them judiciously in the interest of the nation,” said Mr Ali.

Mr Ali, who also presented the Auto-Mobile Scanner at Onne Port, stated that the scanner would facilitate the service‘s activities, as it would scan no less than 20 containers in one hour and more than 480 containers in 24 hours.

He stated that the Federal Government has plans to bring 135 Auto-Mobile Scanners to curb smuggling, the stay in the clearance of goods.

The comptroller called on well-intentioned individuals and organizations to provide the Nigerian Customs Service with credible information that would enable the interception and seizure of contraband items.

He also called on the media to continue their valuable work of informing, educating and entertaining the public.

“Together, we will succeed,” Ali said.

In his comment, Murtala Mohammed, President of SEWA West Africa Limited, said that the submission of SW27GB and SW23BC to Nigerian Customs would help facilitate their operations in the Rivers streams and waterways.

Mr. Mohammed said the ships, built by SEWA West Africa Limited in Nigeria, were a laudable achievement by the Federal Government in local content policy.

In his speech, Ian Appleby, Managing Director of SEWA West Africa, said all the boats were fitted with twin OBMs using environmentally friendly 4-stroke engine technology.

Appleby stated that the boats fall into two class sizes of 27 feet and 23 feet in length and are capable of high speeds to intercept smugglers in waterways.

He described the ships’ key features as ballistic protection, two general-purpose machine guns, a bullet-resistant front windshield, modern radar technology, and a depth transducer.

According to him, the V-series gunboat also comes with an improved hull for greater stability and drains on the aft deck forward.

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