America boosts Nigerian Navy’s fleet
… Transfers 2 more tokunbo vessels
• Navy orders criminals out of Nigerian waters
The United States of America (USA) has again responded favourably to the frequent outcry of the Nigerian Navy (NN) for a boost in its fleet, particularly in the face of increasing insecurity in Nigerian waters and further afield in the Gulf of Guinea.
Under the latest package of transfer of deactivated vessels previously used by the American services, the NN will receive two more ex-US vessels next year, the US Navy Ship John McDonnell survey ship and the US Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin.
Speaking through the NN Chief of Poicy and Plans, Rear Admiral Emmanuel Ogor, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba, said that the two vessels would be inspected between May and August, next year.
The US, according to the Navy chief, has transferred several ships to Nigeria over the last decade.
These include the NNS Thunder, Obula, Nwamba, Kyanwa and Ologbo.
“These ships have contributed immensely to the security of the nation’s maritime environment and the Gulf of Guinea,” he said.
The vessels are donated as part of the US military’s Excess Defence Articles system.
Deactivated on August 25, 2010, as the US Navy streamlined survey operations, the 63-metre, 2,054-ton oceanographic survey vessel, the USNS John McDonnell, can launch two 34-foot launches.
The 115-metre long, 3 250-ton Gallatin is a member of the Hamilton-class.
The NN has already taken delivery of the Hamilton-class cutter Chase (now NNS Thunder), which was commissioned in January 2012.
Gallatin, introduced into US Coast Guard service in 1968, is equipped with a helicopter flight deck, retractable hangar and a fast boat.
The 115-metre High Endurance Cutter (WHEC) has four main engines and can be driven by either twin diesel engines or twin gas turbines via two controllable-pitch propellers.
Ezeoba said that the NN’s fleet was expanding, with the commissioning of five Seaward Defence Boats earlier this year, the construction of another indigenous Andoni-class boat, and the construction of two 95-metre offshore patrol vessels, which are expected to arrive before the end of next year.
Meanwhile, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) the NN Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, has reiterated the Navy’s resolve to protect the nation’s territorial waters from criminals, whom he warned to depart the nation’s maritime domain or risk the wrath of the NN.
Speaking after a sea trip with a number of civilians in five ships from the NN, as part of activities making Navy’s 57th anniversary, Ibas said that efforts were on to checkmate activities of sea robbers.
According to him, the trip was a demonstration of cordial civil/military relations and also an opportunity for members of the public to see how the Navy operates.
The vessels used during the trip included NNS Obula, NNS Andoni, and NNS Markudi.