The Nigerian Navy on Monday 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.
The new acquisitions
include two 110 MKII Fast Patrol Crafts (FPC)- NNS NGURU and NNS EKULU; four
72MKII Inshore Patrol Craft (IPC)- NNS GONGOLA, NNS OSE, NNS CALABAR, and NNS
SHIRORO, and 10 Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBS).
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.
The two 110 MKII FPC, NNS
NGURU and NNS EKULU, which were named after towns in Yobe and Rivers States,
were put under the command of Commanders Emmanuel Fingesi and Andrew Zidon
In his address, the Chief
of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ette Ibas, said the latest
additions had 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, conducted frequent
He said: “The acquisition
of the six new OCEA FPC and 10 Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBS) will narrow
the capability gaps in enhancing security of the country’s maritime expanse.
“Their commissioning and
induction respectively into the service is therefore another operational
milestone for the navy as they will complement existing Maritime Domain
Awareness Capability in the face of its inherent need for a potent interdiction
“I must however be quick to
observe that despite this commendable stride, we have barely scratched the
outstanding deficit in the navy fleet. Capacity building therefore is a running
priority of the navy. The navy continues to apply its double pronged approach of
platform sourcing from both foreign shipyards and local manufacturing.
“Domestically, local boat
building associates like Messrs Epenal Boat Builders and John Holt Plc which
have accounted for the delivery of over 200 boats in the past have continued to
be patronised. The navy dockyard remains productively engaged as it is on
course for the delivery of a third straight Seaward Defence Boat (SDB), now a
42 meter boat.
“Furthermore, efforts are
ongoing towards acquiring more fast patrol vessels for littoral waters up to
the EEZ, while the construction of a hydrographic vessel and landing ship would
further reinforce the navy’s regional maritime dominance.”
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.
Inaugurating the platforms,
Dan-Ali said the country was challenged by multi-faceted threats from both
continental and maritime fronts with grave manifestations and increasing
threats to maritime security.
He said crimes such
as piracy and attack on strategic oil installations have complicated the
country’s maritime security environment and threatened with dire consequences,
the overall well-being of Nigeria.