By Jonah Nwokpoku
The British Navy and its Nigerian counterpart will build a synergy through information and experience sharing in order to strengthen their capacity to deal with insecurity and illegal activities within Nigeria, the West African coast and across the Gulf of Guinea.
This was the submission of the Commanding Officer of the British Naval War ship, the Iron Duke, Tom Tredary during its six day working visit to Nigeria.
He said the move was inspired by the need for the Nigerian Navy and the British Navy to share information and experience in order to boost maritime security within the Gulf of Guinea and especially within the West African coast.
Addressing newsmen on board the Iron Duke in Lagos, he said, “Maritime security is a problem that affects all nations. It’s important that security is given the required attention in order to reduce illegal activities at sea. It requires concerted efforts by all navies to do that. We think that we can share experiences we have had in combating piracy in the Indian Ocean and Somalia.
“This will help the Nigerian Navy to refine the techniques that they already use to try and bring a great deal of law and order in the Gulf of Guinea. We think that there is a lot that we can learn from each other because Nigerian Navy has a better understanding of activities around these waters and we have a great understanding of activities patrolling the Gulf of Guinea, so we can share experiences,” he said.
Speaking further, he added that, “By tackling the shared threats, we aim to help Nigeria build confidence that will see the evolution of stronger international partnerships, greater investment in industrial development and employment, and consequently greater Nigerian industrial reach into international markets. Our cooperative solution will directly deter illegal trade and criminal activity and at the same time secure legitimate trade revenues and protect commercial and environmental interests.”
Also speaking, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Andrew Pocock while commending the move, noted that the relationship between the United Kingdom and Nigeria is long standing and strong. He added that Nigeria and the UK had worked together in diverse areas such as political and international relations, education and research, security and defence, as well as issues of economic and trade interest to Nigeria and the UK.
The HMS Iron Duke
HMS Iron Duke is Type 23 ‘Duke’ Class Frigate normally based in Portsmouth, UK. The Type 23 frigate is the mainstay of the surface fleet in the modern Royal Navy. It is fitted with the vertical launch seawolf system which is a ship’s first line of defence against aircraft and incoming missile attack. Its Harpoon missile system is relied upon for long range surface to surface engagements.
She is capable of defending against submarine attack with her Magazine Torpedo Launch System as well as use of her Lynx Helicopter which is capable of dropping torpedoes or depth charges.