7 May, 2013
Indicators reaching Beegeagle’s Blog through impeccable back channel communication suggest that an ‘unnamed West African navy’, almost certainly the Nigerian Navy, have been made an offer of yet another 3,250 ton United States Coast Guard Cutter, a sister ship of the USCGC Chase(now NNS Thunder F90).
Unlike the unsuccessful bid for the USCGC Jarvis, also a sister ship of the NNS Thunder for which a bid was put in by the Nigerian Navy in 2012 even as she ultimately went to the Bangladesh Navy, this potential transfer of the “Excess Defense Article” is an OFFER made by the United States rather than a BID put in by the Nigerian Navy.
The text of the said communication volunteered by a strategically positioned Beegeagle’s Blogger reads in part
“Our president’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2014, which starts in October of calendar year 2013, includes the decommissioning of 2 ea 378 ft cutters. At least one of them will actually GET decommissioned (USCGC GALLATIN), after the budget process is completed, likely in March of 2014, and will likely be transferred to the West African country to which it was allocated last year. My understanding is that the offer has been made.”
The 115 metre 3250 ton ships of the Hamilton class, of which the NNS Thunder is one, have been severally upgraded during the course of their service lives and with a crossing range of 22,000 kilometres, the NNS Thunder is easily the naval ship with the greatest capacity for endurance at sea sailing in Africa today. The NNS Thunder was commissioned in Nigerian naval service on the 23rd day of January, 2012.
Earlier on in 2003, the US Coast Guard also transferred four oceangoing 1,041 ton logistics ships/patrol vessels to the Nigerian Navy. The said ships, one of which sailed to Brazil for the bicentennial of that country’s navy a few years ago in her capacity as escort vessel to Nigeria’s flagship NNS Aradu, are also remarkable for their endurance at sea with a crossing range of 15,000km.
The said Cat class ships have seen consistent action in anti-piracy patrols in Nigeria and Benin Republic and have also participated in multinational sea exercises(EXERCISE OBANGAME) in Cameroon.
It would be recalled that whilst transferring the USCGC Chase to the Nigerian Navy in March 2011, President Obama promised to follow up the gesture with the transfer of a second ship in the near future.
Unless the Nigerian Navy turn down the offer, something which is most unlikely given the acute dearth of oceangoing platforms facing the service, it is almost certain that the second Hamilton-class ship coming to the Nigerian Navy would be the USCGC Gallatin.
Watch this space then, gentlemen.