Port Harcourt – The Nigerian Navy Ship, “NNS Thunder”, emerged the winner of the Tug-of-War competition involving 40 navy warships worldwide, the Commanding Officer, Navy Capt. Clement Atebi, said on Wednesday.
Atebi, who made this known in Port Harcourt, led the 165 crew members to Australia for the competition.
The NNS Thunder arrived Port Harcourt, its final berth place, after successfully participating in the Royal Australian Navy’s International Fleet Review in Sydney, Australia.
The event, which had no other African navy representation in attendance, showcased Nigeria as having the strongest navy on the African continent, going by its performance.
Atebi said that the Nigerian navy distinguished itself at the event.
He explained that “NNS Thunder” which left Nigeria on Aug. 8 to Australia, and arrived in Lagos on Dec. 18, where it spent two months before returning to Port Harcourt.
Atebi said the ship made port calls in Angola, South Africa, Mauritius, Namibia, Congo and Australia, among others, during the operation.
“The Nigerian navy was the only navy in Africa that attended the event and being the only ship that had only blacks onboard; captured the attention of everyone.
“We competed expertly at the event, including our Match-Past through the city of Sydney. Our uniform, colour, and composure stood us out from the crowd of all the participating countries.
“Our navy won the Tug-of-War sporting competition which showed how physically and tactically fit our Officers and Ratings are.
“The exercise also presented a good platform for our Officers and Ratings to gain further experience which will go a long way to strengthening the Nigerian navy.
“On board the ship was 165 crew members including our female personnel, and which represents the first time female Officers and Ratings will participate in an operation of such magnitude.”
Atebi said that the inclusion of females was in line with the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan, to give equal opportunity to women in every facet of the Nigerian society.
On the benefit of the exercise to Nigeria, Atebi said the operation gave the nation’s navy a better platform to collaborate with other navy around the world.
He noted that the Nigerian navy had been collaborating with other countries from the Gulf of Guinea to “jointly, collectively and individually stamp out any form of illegality on its sea”.
According to him, the sea which represents 70 per cent of the entire earth’s surface cannot be policed by one country alone.
“The Australian visit presented a wider spectrum of cooperation at the international level in information sharing and collaboration which is of immense benefit to Nigeria,” Atebi said. (NAN)