Having just taken delivery of a first new tank landing ship, the NNS Kada, the Nigerian Navy has revealed that it will be acquiring a second such vessel.
Nigerian Navy Chief of Policy and Plans, Rear Admiral Saidu Garba, speaking to the media on 24 May to mark the 66th Nigerian Navy Week, said efforts are ongoing for the acquisition of another LST.
On 27 May, the NNS Kada tank landing ship (LST) arrived in Apapa, Lagos, where it was welcomed by Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo. He said efforts are being made to acquire a sister ship and “we are expecting to get another one anytime soon.” Damen built the 100 metre long NNS Kada at Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates but it is not clear from where the second tank landing ship would be coming.
Elaborating on fleet recapitalisation, Garba earlier this month said the Nigerian Navy has made significant strides in this area, which is a top priority under the incumbent Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo. An ‘aggressive’ fleet recapitalization process has led to the acquisition of several capital ships, fast patrol boats, inshore patrol craft, air assets, and the indigenous construction of Seaward Defence Boats (SDB). The Naval Dockyard in Lagos has started construction of the fourth and fifth Seaward Defence Boats.
The NNS Lana, a hydrographic survey ship, joined the fleet from France in December 2021, while the contract for another 35 metre hydrographic survey ship has been signed with France’s OCEA Shipbuilding.
Garba noted that the NNS Kada was handed over to the Nigerian Navy on 1 April at Damen Shipyards in Sharjah, UAE, and is due to arrive in Nigeria on Friday 27 May, after stops in Kenya, South Africa, Angola and Gabon.
“Furthermore, the Nigerian Navy recently signed a contract with Dearsan Shipyard of Turkey for the construction of two 76 metre High Endurance Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs). The Nigerian Navy is also in the process of taking delivery of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to enhance our Maritime Surveillance/Domain Awareness assets,” he said.
Garba said the fleet recapitalisation has helped the Nigerian Navy improve the country’s maritime security and economic prosperity. “I am pleased to inform you that there has been a successive decline in reported cases of piracy and sea robbery αттα¢кs within Nigeria’s maritime domain, leading to improved shipping into Nigeria’s waters with attendant positive impact on the nation’s economy. This noble achievement was complemented by the International Maritime Bureau Global Piracy Report of 14 July 2021, which indicated the lowest number of piracy and sea robbery against ships in our waters in 27 years.”
Garba added that the latest International Maritime Bureau report of 3 March 2022 showed that Nigeria has exited the IMB’s Piracy List. “This means that Nigeria is no longer in the list of piracy prone countries. The consequences are enormous and positive for the shipping industry, general maritime commerce, and the national economy.”
International and local cooperation towards countering maritime insecurity and crime was also highlighted by Garba. He said collaboration led to the arrest of MV Chayanee Naree in October 2021 for conveying 33 kg of cocaine worth $1.5 million from Brazil to Lagos. Under the European Union-coordinated maritime presence in the Gulf of Guinea, the Nigerian Navy collaborates with ships from European Union navies to patrol the Gulf. “Noteworthy is the first ever Joint Event on Strengthening Nigeria – EU Cooperation on Maritime Security which was held in Lagos on 7 April 2022 with a view to solidifying the close partnership that has developed between the Nigerian Navy, the European Union and EU Member States operating in the region.”
Allied to these efforts are the annual multi-national maritime exercises such as Exercise Obangame Express and Exercise Grand African Nemo, sponsored by the United States and France respectively. Most recently, the Nigerian Navy participated in training exercises with the French, Brazilian, UK, Pakistani, Italian, Spanish, US and Canadian navies.
“Likewise, the Nigerian Navy collaborates with all navies in the region under the auspices of the 2013 Yaoundé Code of Conduct, which prioritizes cooperation and information sharing between navies of Economic Community of West African States and Economic Community of Central African States,” Garba said. “Also, under a new framework for tackling insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea, named the Gulf of Guinea Maritime Collaboration Forum and Shared Awareness Deconfliction (GOG-MCF/SHADE), the NN plays an active significant role as the lead agency responsible for maritime security in Nigeria.”
He said the Nigerian Navy has also performed satisfactorily in the fight against crude oil theft and illegal oil bunkering. The most recent and ongoing operation is Operation Dakatar Da Barawo (meaning “Stop the Thief” in Hausa Language) which was activated on 1 April 2022 in collaboration with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited.
“Pertinently, within seven weeks, the operation recorded some successes. Notably are the arrest of 45 suspects, deactivation of 172 illegal refining sites, 745 metal storage tanks, 567 ovens, 263 pits including the destruction of 50 wooden boats and 14 speedboats. Equally, Nigerian Navy patrol teams denied oil thieves about 11 781 937 litres of illegally refined AGO (automotive gas oil), 20 378 414 litres of crude oil and 367 715 litres of DPK (dual purpose kerosene). Others are, about 232 000 litres of PMS (premium motor spirit), 830 000 litres of sludge and 66 000 litres of LPFO (low pour fuel oil). These products are worth over N15 761 536 440.”
Garba concluded his remarks by outlining details of the 30-31 May International Maritime Conference and Regional Maritime Exercise (IMCREMEX), which will be attended by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“IMC 2022 will feature a meeting of African naval chiefs and maritime security experts to interrogate and agree on proposed modalities for fulfilling the requirements of the African Union Peace and Security Council Communique 1012, in support of the 2050 African Integrated Maritime Strategy,” Garba said.
“Essentially, the Communique seeks to establish Combined Maritime Task Forces among the navies of the Gulf of Guinea states and those along the Eastern/Southern coastlines as well as a Continental Maritime Advisory Council to be composed of the heads of navies and coast guards. For this reason, delegates to this year’s conference are not limited to Gulf of Guinea states only but also those of Eastern and Southern African nations. I also have the pleasure to inform you that several friendly nations have earmarked ships to participate in the regional exercise alongside Nigerian Navy ships and aircraft.”