The Nigerian Navy (NN), Wednesday, signed a contract with a Turkish company, Messrs Dearsan Shipyard Limited for the purchase of 2 brand new offshore patrol vessels.
A statement by naval spokesperson Commodore Suleman Dahun on Wednesday, said the 2 vessels are expected to be completed within 37 months.
Speaking at the ceremony, Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo recalled that Nigerian Navy has in the last couple of months brought to bear her dominant status in the region by sustaining an aggressive presence in the nation’s maritime environment, leading to drastic reduction in acts of criminality in the domain.
This development he added has been acknowledged by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) in its Global Piracy Report of 14 July 2021, indicating the lowest total of piracy and armed attacks against ships in 27 years.
According to the CNS, this report was corroborated by the Defence Web maritime security report of 15 October 2021 which noted further decline in reported cases of piracy and armed attacks against shipping in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG), a development he attributed to the impact of NN maritime security operations efforts.
Admiral Gambo stated that the contract signing ceremony was another milestone achievement by the Nigerian Navy in her fleet renewal effort towards realizing her 2021-2030 Strategic Plan.
The CNS also recalled that on the directive of the President Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian Navy hosted the Chief of the Ghana Navy to discuss collaborative efforts to combat piracy and other maritime crimes in the GoG and during the meeting, it was agreed that there was a need to establish a standing ECOWAS Multinational Task Force in the GoG.
Pertinently, to sustain the upwards trajectory of the NN’s operational engagements and actively participate in the proposed Task Force, the CNS informed that the President granted approval for the NN to procure 2 High Endurance Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) with the capability to carry out maritime interdiction operations, surveillance and special forces operations as well as provide naval fire support to land forces.
“The OPVs will also be capable of conducting search and rescue operations, anti-piracy, anti-smuggling and anti-drug trafficking operations and disaster relief operations among others,” he said.
While responding, the Chief Executive Officer of Messrs Dearsan Shipyard, Mr Murat Gordi, appreciated the Nigerian Navy and the federal government for the confidence placed on their company to construct the vessels.