First of the Chinese-built 1,800 ton P18N stealth Offshore Patrol Vessels
By Benson Akomo
March 30, 2014
THE Nigerian Navy (NN) has concluded plans to add two new ships to its fleet as part of efforts to increase the number of functional ships.
While naval personnel trained by the Naval Training Command (NAVTRAC) have departed the country for China to bring home a custom-made Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV), another set that will depart for the United States of America to bring a US Coast Guard Ship GALLATIN, purchased by the NN are currently undergoing trainings to prepare them for the task.
Speaking in Lagos after his first biannual tour of ships and establishments, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) NAVTRAC, Rear Admiral Goddy Ayankpele, said training for prospective National Defence College (NDC) participants has commenced, adding that the pilot stage was very successful as the NDC qualifying examination result revealed over 90 percent pass by naval officers.
He said efforts were on to boost the capacity of naval personnel for international relevance, just as he disclosed that the force was collaborating an affiliating with relevant bodies for the accreditation of courses run in its training schools.
“Already, the Nigerian Navy Finance and Logistics College has been partially accredited in four courses-Accounting, Business Administration, Hospitality and Catering Management as well as Office Technology and Management- pending the fulfilment of the complete requirement for full accreditation,” he said.
“Also, the NN Engineering College has been given interim accreitation in some of its courses following the recent visits by the National Board for Technical Education. “NN School of Health Sciences, Offa is now affiliated to some health institutions such as Kwara State College of Health Technology, Offa, Nigerian Army School of Nursing, Yaba,” he said.
Ayankpele further disclosed that plans were on to introduce Chinese Language in collaboration with the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria, as well as Arabic Language in its schools for easy communication of its personnel during Peace Keeping operations.
The China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Company (CSOC) had recently launched NN’s first of two P-18N offshore patrol vessels contracted to it by the NN. The OPV’s launching (F91) also marked the hull formation ceremony of the second vessel, F92, which is expected in the country later in the year for completion.
Though the first one was built in China, part of the contractual agreement between the NN and the Ship’s company is to ensure that between 50 and 70 percent of the second ship will be constructed in Nigeria to enhance local shipbuilding capability and provide technology transfer.
CSOC has also signed a contract to upgrade the Nigerian Naval Shipyard in Port Harcourt including the construction of new jetty and dry dock so that it can build OPVs and maintain vessels.