Ten years after decommissioning the two landing ships in its fleet, NNS Ambe & NNS Ofiom, the Nigerian Navy through the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas on Monday flagged off construction of Nigeria’s latest Landing War Ship in Sharjah, UAE.
The ship, a landing tank expected to be completed in May 2020 is being built in Albwardy Damen Shipyards.
Speaking at the ceremony, Vice Admiral Ibas said, “Today’s ceremony is a significant step towards actualizing the dream of restoring Nigerian Navy’s sea lift capability after the Service decommissioned 2 similar LSTs more than 10 years ago.
“I recall that the Nigerian Government acquired 2 Type 502 amphibious vessels NNS Ambe and NNS Ofiim, built by HDW German builders in 1978.
“These vessels served the Navy meritoriously in the 1980s-90s, playing significant roles during the ECOMOG intervention Operations in Liberia and Sierra Leone, as well as other peace support operations in Lebanon.
“The Nigerian Navy’s acquisition of this LST 100 will certainly go a long way in filling the operational gap created by the decommissioning of the 2 NN ships.
“As you may be aware, the bid for this project was highly competitive, as several other shipbuilding companies tendered for her construction.
“Permit me, therefore, to congratulate Damen Shipyards on winning the bid for this project.
“The Selection of Damen Shipyards to execute the project was based on its track record of high-quality ship building capacity, engineering as well as a belief in the company’s ability to adhere to the timeline for delivery of the ship.
“Two NN Tugboats Dolphin Rima and Dolphin Mira build by Damen Shipyards are still operational and in service on the NN Fleet.
“Hence, cognizant of your pedigree and experience over the years, the NN is confident that you will not only build this Ship in line with the specifications and configuration to the highest standards but also deliver the project on schedule.
“Timely delivery is not negotiable.
“The LST, when completed and delivered, is expected to play crucial roles in the security of Nigeria’s maritime environment and beyond.
“Specifically, the ship will be engaged in the protection of maritime resources and the preservation of law and order at sea, thus contributing significantly to promotion of global maritime commerce and maritime power projection in Nigerian Maritime environment and the Gulf of Guinea at large.
“It is, therefore, my fervent belief that this Shipyard will complete the construction of the LST with all the attention and due diligence that it deserves, to rekindle our historic relationship and pave way for other areas of collaboration in the future.
“On this note, I would like to thank the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, for his untiring support for the rejuvenation of the NN fleet since assumption of office.
“The NN and indeed the Government and good People of Nigeria look forward to a masterpiece that will reflect the best skill as well as the highest standard of engineering, safety and observance of timeliness in the construction of the LST.”