An Agusta A109e Power of the Nigerian Navy Air Arm prepares to land on NNS Thunder F90

An Agusta A109e Power of the Nigerian Navy Air Arm prepares to land on NNS Thunder F90

Written by Misbahu Bashir
Saturday, 10 November 2012

The Naval headquarters in Abuja yesterday said it has deployed eight ships,six gunboats and three helicopters to the Niger Delta region to stamp out crude oil theft and piracy.

A statement signed by Rear Admiral E. O Egbo on behalf of the Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba said the joint exercise code named ‘Exercise Farauta (hunting in Hausa)’ will last between November 11 and 17 in the Bight of Bonny. “The exercise is in pursuance of President Goodluck Jonathan’s mandate to the Nigerian Navy to do all it can to stamp out the prevalence of illegal maritime activities especially crude oil theft, illegal oil bunkering and piracy in the Niger Delta.

“Eight ships, six gunboats and three helicopters including elements of Nigerian Army and Maritime Patrol Aircraft of the Nigerian Air Force will be taking part in the exercise.”

According to the statement, the exercise will enable the Navy to assess its operational capability with a view to identifying gaps and taking necessary measures “to fill such gaps for enhanced operational readiness.” The aim of the exercise was to intensify the ongoing naval operations in the Niger Delta region with “emphasis on Bonny-Akassa-Excravos axis (an area notorious for crude oil theft) up to the extent of the offshore oil platforms at Bonga and Bogi”

Meanwhile, a report carried by the “Daily Punch” in its November 9th edition quotes the Chief of Training and Operations, Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral Emmanuel Ogbor as having explained that the fleet evaluation exercise codenamed FARAUTA would “test the operational capability of Nigerian Navy ships that have been undergoing local refit”


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BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies


  1. Spirit says:

    This is good news, more exercises to test our capabilities and our platforms. Especially in the area of jointness, interoperability and communication and the quality of the locally refitted platforms.
    Pirates should leave the GoG and look for legitimate sources of income.

    I am sure NNS Andoni will be there. Beeg, kindly keep us updated as per other platforms that will be fielded.

    It’s training, training and more training!

  2. beliving dis a good omen for the defence of our noble country Nigeria. more of such will enhance the capabilities of our militaru might.

  3. beegeagle says:

    NNS Thunder, four 1,041 ton Cat class ships, two Sea Eagle Offshore Patrol Craft, NNS Yola and NNS Brass, NNS Andoni, NNS Makurdi, five Shaldag and three OCEA FPB 72 Mk.II are all believed to be seaworthy. Nineteen large patrol craft and ships belong to that category.

    If the core of this exercise is to assess ships which have been refitted locally, we might start to look to ships which have not been seen in action lately.Nigerdock, Naval Dockyard, Continental Shipyards, Dorman Long and A+C Engineering have all refitted ships previously for the Navy.

    So we might have to ascertain the precise status and number of the six 58 metre Lurssen and Combattante III missile FACs which are seaworthy at this time AND the status of five of the eight 31-35 metre Brooke Marine and Abeking+Rasmussen large patrol craft as well. Add to that NNS Aradu, the Mk.9 corvette NNS Erinomi, the pair of Intermarine Mine Countermeasure Vessels “Barama” and “Ohue” and the Landing Ships(Tank) “Ambe” and “Offiom”. Seventeen large patrol craft and warships belong to this latter category.

    I expect that all the said gunboats would be 17 metre Manta Mk.II ASD Littoral Interceptors. Or could we see the new 13 metre Aryan 1300-series patrol boats manned by SBS commandos – as against their trademark 9 metre RBS Defender response boats?

    We have our eyes keenly trained on this one. It would have been nice though if the NN had simply listed the ships involved.

  4. jimmy says:

    Like the oga SPIRIT said please keep us posted.

  5. beegeagle says:

    No shaking, gentlemen. Keeping an eye on the ball.

    That said, the Navy really could have contacted us well in advance so that we make a major splash of this event. We would have covered the exercise as ‘specially’ as we did the Navy SBS commandos last July.

    NA, NN and NAF, please help us to get these stories out so that people such as that Ghanaian-British charlattan who has this week been majorly undercutting the NA can be checkmated with indubitable evidence.

    Whenever these events are around the corner, NOTIFY us at . One week’s notice would do. Put together the logistics and send me a mail or leave me instructions through the forward-looking Commanding Officer of the Navy SBS commmandos and my worthy Oga would tell you how to go about all of this.

    Abeg people, let us get proactive and recognise a media event for what it is – a BIG PR opportunity now that we have created a global platform for Nigeria – BEEGEAGLE’S BLOG – from which to match the rest of the world in defence and security communication. As you already know, our blog is read worldwide and followed by chaps who work for prestigious institutions such as Janes, SIPRI, Global Security, Afrique Defense, Jamestown Foundation, Council on Foreign Relations, Sentinel, WestPoint, global and Afrocentric thinktanks, local and foreign media, spooks etc who know the worth of what we do here and are sure that we have our hands on the button.

    In the absence of timely and convincingly delivered information, rumours, speculation and malevolent misrepresentation take root.

    Let us do the needful.

  6. Spirit says:

    I am of the opinion that pirates and oil-bunkeres will be on vacation this week unless they are as foolish and they are greedy. Exercise Farauta is good in that its an opportunity to test men, procedures,doctrines and equipment and it wil reveal weak points that will later be strenghtened. But apprehending thieves? maybe if the thief doesn’t watch TV and read newspapers.

    What is required to stop these unwholesome practices is something akin to ‘permanent presence’ at sea and this does not come cheap. The 14 platforms being deployed for this exercise cannot even sufficiently cover ENCommand.

    Fellow bloggers, in the absence of sufficient naval platforms and (paucity of funds)to saturate our EEZ (84,000 nsqm), me think tasking the ATRs and the Isreali Aerostar/Seastar drones to do the bulk of the job will go a long way in conserving funds that could be used to acquire more platforms.
    Modus Operandi
    1) ATR-Surveyor/Aerostar detects bandit (pirates/bunkerers)
    2)ATR communicates coordinates to NN base and goes to other areas/Aerostar communicates to base and shadows pirates/thieves.
    3) NN base immidiately deploys Aerostar to the specified coordinate (if not there already) while simultaneously putting a SDB to sea.
    4) NN dispatches Helibourne Special Forces (NNSBS?) and a navalise Alfa jet.
    5) Aerostar “shadows” pirates and keep reporting coordinates to NN.
    6)Alfa probably arrives on station ahead of helibourne SF. Alfa can “force” pirate to maintain a specific course by “showing off” its missiles of firing some warning shots.
    7)Heli bourne SF/NNSBS arrives ahead of SDB and Alfa goes back to base.
    8) SF boards the ship and (if neccessary) “clear the ship”.
    9) SDB/Patrol ship arrives for evacuation etc.

    I am not an naval expert so I presume the above is full of “holes”. But I keep thinking of the responsility placed on NN and the vailable resources. Considering the fact that NNS Thunder requires 1 Million liters of Diesel/month @ N150/lts, that translates to N150 Million/month just for one platform! Thats why the Former CNS Vice Admiral Ola Saad Ibrahim requested for N1.8Billion just to fuel this one ship in 1 year!

    Generals, what do you think about the above? More importantly, how do you think NN can carry out its responsilities.

    Please remember that NN has to patrol as far as Togo and probably EGuinea!

    Onward together.

    • johnbest1 says:

      Oga spirit dat 1million liters of fuel per month is nt possible in any way,even if that ship was to go round the whole african continent 1ce it would still have a half tank or there about,that 1million liters of fuel must be yearly.

    • Deway says:

      Oga Spirit, there’s some news about our Aerostar UAVs by one defence contractor who goes by the name of Alhaji Rabiu Hassan. Because of the heightened tension on the blog presently as a fall out of Ms Hirsch’s malevolent anti-Nigerian comments, I will post it at a later date unless of course others have seen/read this news.

  7. beegeagle says:

    Okay gentlemen, the situation as it concerns NNS Thunder is this;

    – It has both diesel and gas plants to power her.

    – Her fuel capacity(diesel) is 1 MILLION LITRES

    – at a crusing speed of 20 knots, she can deliver 26,000km on a full tank

    – She can travel 26,000kms @a standard 20 knots on that full tank…more if the speed is reduced to 15 knots

    – She is the only warship in Africa today which is able to traverse Africa’s entire 26,000km coastline

    – a Lagos-Calabar-Lagos voyage is 1706km. Assuming a 10-day return voyage with stops at FOBs Igbokoda, Escravos, Formoso(Egwuema), Ibaka and the naval base at Calabar, NNS Thunder would travel 5118km and make THREE Lagos-Calabar-Lagos voyages in one month.

    At an average of three trips with 5, 118km travelled every month, it follows that at a cruising speed of 20 knots and a crossing range of 26,000km, NNS Thunder should be able to make fifteen Lagos-Calabar-Lagos voyages over a FIVE MONTH period on ONE FULL tank.

    Slowed down from 20 knots to an economical 15-17 knots, she would not need more than two full tanks to make thirty Lagos-Calabar-Lagos voyages in an entire year.

    In a related development, each of our 1,041 ton Cat class ships also boasts a range of 22,000kms on one tank. Only NNS Thunder does better than that in Africa today for fuel economy and sheer range. Perhaps that explains why NNS Nwamba served as escort vessel to NNS Aradu during the trans-Atlantic voyage to Brazil a few years ago.

  8. Somoric says:

    Beegeagle, that’s why the fomer CNS is Four-Star Flag officer today. He earned it by the dint of hard work and tenacity. We can see the professional impact on the other arms respectively, round pegs are being place in round holes especially in preparation for the Mali Jaunt..

  9. Spirit says:

    @Oga Deway, Yes o, I read the news, but people are saying na ‘bad belle’ they worry the guy. maybe Oga Beeg will help us confirm his claims that the UAV are not functional.

    Somebody must have misquoted the former CNS because it was in many newspaper (e.g The Punch, The Nation ) of January 26, 2012.

    During the 2012 budget defence begore the senate ,He was quoted as saying

    “The tank capacity of NNS Thunder is about 1.05 Million liters. If you multiply this by around figure of N150 for a liter of diesel,That gives you N150 Million. That is what it takes to keep the ship on the high sea for one month”

    He also said it will require N6.5 Billion to fuel the Thunder and the four other Atlas ships donated by the US to the NN this year.

    ———by Sunny Onogu. The Nation, January 26, 2012.

    By the time we add the budget for fueling Thunder and behemoth like the Aradu, and considering the meager allocation our forces have for this year (great improvement over previous year though) , It’s obvious why the NN may not be able to put them on high seas for extended periods. That’s why I thought of the Aerostar option.

  10. beegeagle says:

    Do discountenance that report, Spirit. Some of the people who facilitated the transfer of the ship are posting here on this blog.

    Some of them gave me the scoop as it pertains to the NN’s bid for the USCGC Jarvis – a sister ship of the NNS Thunder and have also told me that the maintenance costs entailed in ownership of the NNS Thunder would not exceed US$3 million over the next five years. So fuelling costs of US$12m per year is IMPOSSIBLE – not even in five years, sailing inside Nigeria.

    Perhaps the writer was working around total distance covered by the NNS Thunder from the time that they left Alaska until they berthed in Nigeria.

    I RESTATE without fear of contradiction that at a cruising speed of 20 knots, the NNS Thunder can execute FIFTEEN return voyages between Lagos and Calabar (the two extreme ends of our coastline) on ONE FULL TANK which delivers 26,000kms.

    It is clear that she cannot fathomably undertake anything more than three of such Lagos-Calabar-Lagos return voyages/patrol missions in one month. If undertaking three monthly end-to-end voyages, it would take FIVE MONTHS at a cruising speed of 20 knots for the NNS Thunder to exhaust one full tank of diesel, NO LESS. Infact, if she slowed down to a decent speed of 15 knots fuel economy would improve to deliver more mileage and thereby ensuring that she can cruise on on full tank for seven months.

    The foregoing suggests that unless someone has opened a fuel depot to ‘help themselves’ somewhere, NNS Thunder can reasonably undertake 30-36 return voyages between Lagos and Calabar ALL YEAR round on TWO FULL TANKS.

  11. Spirit says:

    Trust you sir!

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