Remarks by the Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Az Gambo at the contract signing ceremony of 2 New Offshore Patrol Vessels.
On behalf of the officers, ratings and civilian staff of the NN, I am most delighted to be in our midst this afternoon to witness the contract signing ceremony between the Nigerian Navy and Messrs Dearsan Shipyard, Turkey for the construction of 2 x 76m High Endurance Offshore Patrol Vessels. This event marks another milestone achievement by the NN in her Fleet Renewal effort towards realising her 2021–2030 Strategic Plan. The NN remains grateful to Mr President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari for his continued support and goodwill towards the Service.
The NN have 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 (ME). This has led to drastic reduction in acts of criminality in the nation’s maritime domain. This development has been acknowledged by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) which noted in its Global Piracy Report of 14 Jul 21, indicating the lowest total of piracy and armed attacks against ships in 27 years. This report was corroborated by the Defence Web maritime security report of 15 Oct 21 which noted further decline in reported cases of piracy and armed attacks against shipping in the GoG. This development no doubt is attributable to the impact of NN maritime security operations efforts.
It would be recalled that on the directive of Mr President, Commander-in-Chief, the NN hosted the Chief of the Ghana Navy to discuss collaborative efforts to combat piracy and other maritime crimes in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG). 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, Mr President granted approval for the NN to procure 2 High Endurance Offshore Patrol Vessels 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.
Consequent upon Mr President’s approval, the process of selecting a shipyard capable of constructing the OPVs began in earnest. Dearsan Shipyard was selected based on its track record and the conviction that the shipyard would be able to construct a platform that could be deployed as an OPV in peacetime, while having the capability and flexibility to be quickly outfitted with sensors and weapons to re-role the platform for warfare and maritime defence purposes, at a cost effective price.
Today is a remarkable day as it marks the consummation of relationship between the NN and Messrs Dearsan which is hoped will lead to more fruitful engagements between Nigeria and Turkey in the future. Before I conclude, let me once again thank the President and Commander-in Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria for his continuous support to the NN. On this note, I wish to express my appreciation to the D’ Navy for making out time to be part of this epoch making event while thank our partners from Messrs Dearsan for making it a date with us.
Thank you all God Bless and Onward Together.