Protecting the Nation’s Maritime Domain

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For the continuous protection of maritime assets and the preservation of law and order at sea, the Nigerian Navy recently flagged off the construction of Nigeria’s latest warship, Landing Ship Tank 100, in Albwardy Damen Shipyards in Dubai, Chiemelie Ezeobi writes

For the Nigerian Navy (NN), the need to protect the nation’s territorial integrity has always been top priority. Thus, they are always on the move to

boost its fleet by acquiring the necessary platforms needed to patrol not just the nation’s waterways but also the Gulf of Guinea waters.

One of such moves materialised recently in Sharjah, Dubai, when they flagged off the construction of Nigeria’s latest Landing Ship Tank (LST) 100 at Damen Shipyards.

Noting that the warship would help to secure Nigeria’s maritime environment, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, who flagged off the keel said upon completion, it would be deployed for the protection of maritime assets and the preservation of law and order at sea.

Prior to the trip, the Navy Director of Information, Commodore Suleiman Dahun, “the construction of the ship is expected to be completed in May 2020 and when completed and delivered, the LST will play crucial roles in the security of Nigeria’s maritime environment and beyond.”

Meanwhile, at the flag off in

Albwardy Damen Shipyards, Ibas said it would also provide an opportunity for closer interaction with the management of DAMEN regarding their expectation from this procurement.

He said: “The ceremony is a significant step towards actualising the dream of restoring NN’s sealift capability, after the service decommissioned two similar LSTs more than 10 years ago. I recall that the Nigerian government acquired two Type 502 amphibious vessels NNS AMBE and NNS OFIOM, built by HDW German builders in 1978.

“These vessels served the navy meritoriously in the 1980s-90s, playing significant roles during the ECOMOG intervention Operations in Liberia and Sierra Leone, as well as other peace support operations in Lebanon. The NN’s acquisition of this LST 100 will certainly go a long way in filling the operational gap created by the decommissioning of the two NN ships.

“​As you may be aware, the bid for this project was highly competitive, as several other shipbuilding companies tendered for her construction. Permit me, therefore, to congratulate DAMEN Shipyards on winning the bid for this project. The selection of DAMEN Shipyards to execute the project was based on its track record of high quality ship building capacity, engineering as well as a belief in the company’s ability to adhere to the timeline for delivery of the ship.

“Two NN Tugboats DOLPHIN RIMA and DOLPHIN MIRA build by DAMEN Shipyards are still operational and in service on the NN Fleet. Hence, cognisant of your pedigree and experience over the years, the NN is confident that you will not only build this ship in line with the specifications and configuration to the highest standards, but also deliver the project on schedule. Timely delivery is not negotiable.

“The LST when completed and deliveredis expected to play crucial roles in the security of Nigeria’s maritime environment and beyond. Specifically, the ship will be engaged in the protection of maritime resources and the preservation of law and order at sea, thus contributing significantly to promotion of global maritime commerce and maritime power projection in Nigerian Maritime environment and the Gulf of Guinea at large.

“It is therefore my fervent belief that this Shipyard will complete the construction of the LST with all the attention and due diligence that it deserves, to rekindle our historic relationship and pave way for other areas of collaboration in the future.

“On this note, I would like to thank The President and Commander in Chief of theArmed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, for his untiring support for the rejuvenation of the NN fleet since assumption of office. I also thank the management and staff of DAMEN Shipyards as well as everyone who has contributed one way or the other towards successful commencement of this shipbuilding project. The NN and indeed the government and good people of Nigeria look forward to a masterpiece that will reflect the best skill as well as the highest standard of engineering, safety and observance of timeliness in the construction of the LST.

“May l, on behalf of all personnel of the NN, once again appreciate the leadership of DAMEN Shipyard for the honour given to me and other members of the NN delegation to witness this keel-laying ceremony. May God bless your efforts and keep you accident free. Like we say in the NN, Onward Together.”