· New vessel, a revenue generation for Nigeria- CNS
By Evelyn Usman
The new hydrographic and oceanographic research vessel, NNS LANA, procured by the Nigerian Navy, last month in France, arrived Lagos today, to join other navy’s ships in its fight against maritime illegalities in the nation’s maritime environment and its corridor in the Gulf of Guinea.
Speaking at the reception ceremony of NNS LANA, at NNS Beecroft parade ground, Apapa, Lagos, the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, disclosed that the offshore vessel would also serve as a revenue generation source to the country and the Nigerian Navy, as it would enhance the capacity of the Service to conduct hydrographic surveys, to provide charting services for safe navigation as well as delivery of maritime security.
He revealed that at inception, the Nigerian Navy had limited capacity to operate just within three nautical miles of the nation’s territorial waters, while it was saddled with the responsibility to undertake hydrographic surveys.
The Hydro-graphic survey duties, according to him, were then performed by two survey vessels.
The reception ceremony according to him, “ therefore highlights the importance of hydrographic capabilities to marital operations. The induction of NNS LANA into the Nigeria Navy fleet with state of the art hydrographic survey equipment will enhance the capacity of the service to conduct hydrographic surveys and to provide charting services for safe navigation as well as delivery of maritime security.
“NNS LANA is a revenue generator in the country and the Nigerian Navy . The Nigeria Hydrographer has been given approval to produce navigation charts for the countries in West and Central Africa which off course were erstwhile produced for us by the UK Hydrographer.
Therefore , the NPA and other maritime stakeholders will have to pay for such charts in order to procure them for their safe navigation. Also, anywhere our service is required to boost hydrographic efforts in the Nigeria maritime space, such service is at a cost” .
The CNS added that “ It is instructive to state that the federal government of Nigeria has embrace the Blue Economy initiative in line with United Nations sustainable development goal – 14 agenda. This entrenches the sustainable exploration and exploitation of vase resources in the nation’s maritime environment. Pertinently, the provision of quality hydrographic services is key to the development of the various sectors of the Blue economy.
Therefore, the acquisition of this off shore survey vessel is an affirmation of the Federal Government of Nigeria commitment towards the nation’s economic development.
Accordingly, the NN is poised to collaborate with other maritime stakeholders in the deployment of this new platform to actualize the federal government of Nigeria ‘s vision of developing a sustainable blue economy that will contribute to the nation’s socio economic prosperity”.
On the maintenance routine of the new offshore vessel, Vice Admiral Gambo disclosed that consumable and other parts that would last for two to three years, had been procured for its service at the Nigerian Navy Dockyard, even as he disclosed that the Service was still expecting another vessel from France, to complement its efforts in patrol of the creeks and inland waters in the Niger Delta.
In his welcome remark the Flag officer Commanding,FOC Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Barabutemegha Gbassa, described the occasion as a history making one worth celebrating , noting that the process of acquiring a new ship was not a routine daily occurrence but a capital-intensive activity which takes time, critical decisions, specialisations and skill sets that transcended a single individual or entity.
While noting that safety was key in seafaring, he stated that “there are diverse views of safety depending on one’s perspective, however there is no dispute as to the objective of safety. Anything that would keep one away from danger in an unfriendly environment such as the sea is welcome.
“NNS LANA is one such asset hence our joy at receiving the ship today. Putting it in context, NN’s capacity to conduct hydrographic surveys that would assure safety of naval and merchant traffic over the sea was significantly impaired with the absence of a hydrographic ship in the NN fleet. With NNS LANA joining the fleet, going forward, the maritime industry can be assured of getting improved and reliable hydrographic data and information from the NN to guide maritime activities”.
Earlier in his brief on the sea proceeding of the vessel, the Commanding Officer, NNS LANA, Captain Abdulateef Mamud, explained that the construction of the Offshore Survey Vessel commenced in December 2018 and was completed in July 2020 and the ship launched on September 24 ,2020 at Les Sables d’Olonne, France.
Thereafter, he said the Nigerian Navy took delivery of the Offshore Survey Vessel in Saint Nazaire, France, on April 15, 2021 after the provisional acceptance trials were concluded, and departed for its maiden voyage on April 16, 2021.
According to Captain Mamud, “ .The ship arrived Lagos today, (Monday) around 6am. The ship voyage was divided into five places and four stop overs. The stop overs were Lisbon Portugal,Spain,Banjul Gambia,Ghana before arrival in Lagos today(Monday).
” The ship spent an average of two to three days at each stop over, to allow some technical assessment and due rest. The stopovers provided the opportunity for flag showing in the various nations in accordance with the Nigerian Navy Defence engagement trust.
“It is important to state that the ship was well received in all the stop over ports by the four countries Military and government officials. All activities of the ship at stop over ports were adequately covered by the host countries, print and the electronic media houses.
“It approximately took 30 days on the way from France to Nigeria. This transcends a total of 440 hours at sea. Generally, the sea was relatively calm throughout the voyage except for the lake between Portugal and Las Palmas, where the sea state was very rough and turbulent “.