Amidst the rising state of maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea, the Nigerian Navy Western Naval Command recently commenced a 30-days exercise Okun Alafia II, a Yoruba word for Calm Water.
Exercise Okun Alafia II saw the use of eight warships; NNS Prosperity, NNS Ekun, NNS Nguru, NNS Ekulu, NNS Osun, NNS Ose, TUG Rima and TUG CDR Ugwu, including two helicopters and a detachment of the Nigerian Navy Special Boat Service (SBS).
Even with the success of the exercise, two new warships destined for Nigeria is missing in action due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The two warships, which are 40 metres fast attack and patrol boats made by Damen could not be delivered on time to partake in the exercise.
Last year, Nigeria’s Naval head of policy and plans Rear Admiral Beegroy Ibe-Enwo said Nigeria will receive new vessels from France, Malaysia, Vietnam and local manufacturers, to support the 42 patrol boats and other vessels acquired in 2019.
The new acquisitions include a 60 metre OSV 160 hydrographic survey vessel from France’s Ocea, two 40 metre fast patrol boats from Damen Shipyard in Vietnam, four Manta class boats from Malaysia’s Suncraft, one leonardo AW-139 helicopter from Italy and 15 riverine patrol boats from Nigeria’s Epenal Group.
Most of these vessels have arrived the country and are already actively engaged in various maritime operations across Nigeria’s Sea domain except for the two 40 metres Damen patrol boats which according to Africa Intelligence, could not be delivered yet due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Damen 40 metres patrol boats also known as the Stan Patrol 4207 has a maximum Speed of 26.5 knots, and a crew of 18. It features an “Axe bow” design for enhanced speed and Sea keeping.
It’s hull is constructed with steel and is propelled by 2x Controllable pitch propellers.
Stan Patrol 4207 can be armed with various type of armament included a remotely operated weapons station mounted with a 12.7 mm naval machine gun.
The timeline for the delivery of the vessels have not been decided seeing as the global restriction on movement is still in force.
Other Nigerian Navy acquisitions
The Nigerian Navy already has twenty 18 metre Manta Mk III boats in service delivered in 2017.
In 2018, the Nigerian Navy also commissioned sixteen new boats (six new Ocea fast patrol boats and ten new small boats).
The patrol boats includes two FPB 110 MKII hulls – Nguru (P 187) and Ekulu (P 188) delivered earlier this year by France’s Ocea Shipbuilding company – and four smaller FPB 72 MKII hulls – Shiroro (P 185), Ose (P 186), Gongola (P 189), and Calabar (P 190). All vessels were delivered between late 2017 and April 2018.
Naval acquisitions in last year included 20 riverine patrol boats, 20 rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) and house boats.
Earlier in December, the Nigerian Navy announced it had ordered an LST 100 landing ship from Damen, which is building the vessel at its facilities in the United Arab Emirates.
The new landing ship tank; an LST 100 class vessel is being constructed for the Nigerian Navy by Damen.
The LST 100 class vessel is a 100 m-long landing ship with a displacement of 1,300 tonnes, a range of 4,000 n miles, and an endurance of 15 days. It has both stern and bow ramps, as well as a flight deck for a medium helicopter. It can carry 235 troops as well as the 18 crew. Two davits for launching and recovering landing craft and a 25 tonne cargo crane are options.