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Nigerian Navy Launches a New Survey Vessel

The Nigerian Navy made history by launching a new Hydrographic Survey Vessel in Les Sables d’Olonne France, recently. The NNS Lana will be the first-ever, purpose-built hydrographic survey vessel by the Nigerian Navy with the aim of improving the safety of the maritime business in the Gulf of Guinea and in all Nigerian waters.

 The construction of the vessel started in 2018 by OCEA, a French company that is specialized in the design, building and support of aluminum vessels. The OCEA OSV 190 SC-WB is a hydrographic and oceanographic research vessel designed with capabilities for sea keeping, controlled integration of scientific systems and a reduced impact on the observed environment: noise and radiation.

The new vessel, NNS Lana is equipped with a deep water multibeam echo sounder, side scan sonar, a current meter, a means of sampling, storage and analysis of water, fish and sediment, laboratory hardware and software to mention but a few. It has an overall length of 60.10m, max draft (m) as 3.5m, endurance for up to 20days a speed of 14.0knots, and has the capacity for 50 persons as crew and scientific staff. This vessel which is to join the Nigerian Navy fleet in 2021 will help Nigeria to have better grasp of its waterways as it will help in coastal deep and scientific research and studies, fishing control, and the surveillance of the exclusive economic zone. These include towing of ships, helicopter winching operation and also assisting in making supplies to other boats.

Speaking at the ceremony held at the OCEA shipyard in France, Chief of Naval Staff, CNS, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas who was represented by Rear Admiral Abraham Adaji stated that the vessel would not only improve the safe maritime environment in Nigeria but would also be a force which would maintain security especially in the Gulf of Guinea. He also stated that the occasion not only restores the Navy survey capabilities but enhances it. Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas said that the vessel will play a crucial role in ensuring safe navigation and maintenance of maritime security. He said ‘the vessel would play a critical role in the protection of maritime resources and preservation of law and order at sea, thereby contributing significantly to the promotion of global maritime commerce’. He also thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his support towards the recapitalization of the Nigerian fleet.

The event has in attendance Mr. Roland Joassard, the Chief Executive Officer of OCEA, who was represented by Mr. Fabrice Weinbach, and Mrs. Modupe Enitan Irele, the Nigerian Ambassador to France, both of whom stated that the success of the ship is as a result of the relationship between both countries and stated that they are looking forward to other productive partnerships.

Maritime security is an issue in Nigeria. Pirates have carried out a lot of attacks on Nigerian waters and the Nigerian Navy has recorded improvement in recent years on minimizing such attacks. According to Rear Admiral Tariworio Dick, Chief of Training and Operations, sixteen (16) pirate attacks were reported from January to December 2019 but only ten (10) of such attack was unsuccessful. This according to him is a success on the side of the Nigerian Navy who recorded thirty-four (34) pirate attacks with nine (9) of such attacks were successful in the preceding year. The Nigerian Navy has continued to win the fight against sea robbery, crude oil theft, illegal oil bunkering, unregulated fishing including militancy and hostage-taking, as it has launched several operations to salvage the situation which resulted in the destruction of 378 illegal refineries, impounding of 62-speed boats, destruction of 463 wooden boats and the arrest of 275 in 2019 as reported by Admiral Tariworio. In 2019, the Nigerian Navy strengthened its armory by acquiring 50 composite patrol boats, 20 riverine patrol boats, 20 rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) all for patrol, search and rescue, and oil rig protection. This further boosted the safety of the maritime industry in Nigeria.

Ugochukwu Nwogbaga

Photo Credit: Naval News

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