The Nigerian Navy (NN) took delivery of a new warship called “NNS OKPABANA”, as part of its efforts to tackle maritime related challenges.
Receiving the vessel in Lagos, the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin, said the addition of the vessel would boost the navy’s war against maritime crimes.
According to him, OKPABANA was the second of the Hamilton class of cutters to join the NN fleet between 2014 and 2014.
“It is worthy of note to state that the successes recorded by NNS THUNDER in curtailing threats in our maritime domain and the larger Gulf of Guinea region, with the confidence reposed in our country by the USA that made it possible to acquire NNS OKPABANA.
“The addition of this ship into the NN fleet will certainly bolster our zeal to end the menace in our maritime domain and the region, as well as support the regional and global effort to eliminate transnational maritime threats.
“This nation has always requested the navy to do more and with this, the government recognises that there must be needed platforms for the navy to do its job well.
“The present government headed by President Goodluck Jonathan took the recapitalisation of fleets as a huge challenge and has invested huge funds through the acquisition of two Off-Shore Patrol Vessels (OPV) from China and this one from USA.
“It is hoped that by the time we take delivery of all, the NN will be better for it,’’ Jibrin said.
He said: “For us to be able to do effective maintenance, it is better to co-locate the two ships (OKPABANA and THUNDER) in the same command.
“However, deployment should be based on threat perception. If they are closely related and are operating about the same area, our maintenance team can be co-located where they are and sourcing for spares will be easier.
“We have opened a maintenance channel with the American government such that we can always source for spares.
“Apart from that, our maintenance that has been working onboard THUNDER will be maintained for OKPABANA and we will continue to maintain the channel of spare sourcing to avoid what happened to ARADU,” Jibrin explained.
On the partnership between Nigerian and China on the upgrading of the Port Harcourt shipyard, the naval chief said the Chinese team was expected to be in Nigeria by the first quarter of this year.