By Philip Nwosu
The Nigerian Navy, at the weekend, took delivery of an $87 million (N34 billion) to fight piracy on the country’s waters. The vessel, christened NNS UNITY, arrived Lagos at the weekend, with over 100 officers and ratings.
Upon receiving the vessel, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ette Ibas read the riot act to militants, pirates and crude oil thieves within the territorial waters to steer clear of Federal Government facilities as it will no longer tolerate the menace of economic saboteurs.
Ibas also said with the new warship, the navy will up its game in policing of the waterways and insisted “it is no longer going to be business as usual.
“Now that we have the vessel here, we expect the navy to show more presence at sea. Being here has further boosted the navy’s capacity to keep surveillance over our waters and, if necessary, respond to whatever threat we have out there. As you are aware, we have incidences of piracy and she is built with the capacity to contain such menace.”
Built in China, the vesssel has the capacity to contain spillage, fight surface-to-air warfare, combat piracy and other illegality at sea as well as check crude oil theft.
It is the second, of two vessels, ordered from China to beef up navy’s inventory by former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration. The sister vessel, NNS Centenary, got to Nigeria in 2015 and was commissioned into service.
Earlier, Vice Chairman of China Ship Building International, the company that built the vessel, Oladapo Oguntayo said with the transaction between the two countries, over 200 navy personnel have been trained free of charge.
“In keeping the ship at sea, we are looking at new technology, and new innovation and that is what we have here. It is over 80 percent automated…
“While this ship conservatively consumes about 230,000 litres of fuel for an endurance of 18 days or more at sea, so, you can see the difference immediately.”