As Nigerian sailors stand at attention, the American flag is lowered for the last time on the Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin in Charleston, S.C., on Wednesday, May 7, 2014. After 45 years of service, the Gallatin was transferred to the Nigerian Navy during a dockside ceremony. The cutter, the second cutter in three years transferred to the Nigerian Navy, was transferred under the federal Excess Defense Article Program. (AP Photo/Bruce)

The national ensign is lowered for the last time aboard the decommissioned Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin during a ceremony in North Charleston, S.C., to transfer the ship to the Nigerian Navy Wednesday, May 7, 2014.
(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Lauren Jorgensen)

A member of the Nigerian Navy raises the Nigerian naval ensign for the first time aboard NNS Okpabana during a ceremony in North Charleston, S.C., to transfer the former Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin to the Nigerian Navy Wedn., May 7, 2014

(U.S.Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Lauren Jorgensen)

Members of the Nigerian Navy stand in formation as members of the U.S. Coast Guard disembark the decommissioned Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin during a ceremony in North Charleston, S.C., to transfer the ship to the Nigerian Navy Wednesday, May 7, 2014. Nigeria’s
minister of state for defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, said the ship will strengthen Nigeria’s capability to safeguard the country’s waters and offshore resources.

(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Lauren Jorgensen)

7 May, 2014

After a 45-year career spent sailing under U.S. colors, the former Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin on Wednesday was officially transferred into the hands of the Nigerian Navy. The vessel is now known as the NNS Okpabana.The cutter was decommissioned in March and a crew from the African country arrived in Charleston for training.

On Wednesday, a crowd of Nigerian Navy officers, coast guardsmen and other visitors gathered on a pier at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in North Charleston for a ceremony recognizing the transfer of ownership. Taps played hauntingly in the background as the U.S. flag was lowered and then replaced by that of Nigeria.

While addressing the gathered crowd, Coast Guard Rear Adm. Bruce Baffer spoke of the triumphs achieved by the crew members who have sailed aboard the Gallatin over the years.The vessel was built in a Louisiana shipyard and commissioned in 1969. It aided in the seizure of thousands of pounds of narcotics from international waters while assisting in search and rescue missions,disaster relief and Homeland Security patrols, Baffer said. The NNS Okpabana will serve a similar purpose under the Nigerian Navy, officials said.

“It’s with a heavy heart that this proud ship will no longer sail among our fleet of high-endurance cutters. But that sadness is tempered with pride as she begins a new life under the capable watch of professional sailers and now our close friends,” Baffer said.

“(The vessel) will continue to execute humanitarian missions for Nigeria, an important ally, security partner and collaborator in the struggle against global terror….Our two countries are united in our common goals for peace, safety, security and freedom of
the seas.”

On behalf of his country, Nigerian Sen.Musiliu Obanikoro thanked the Coast Guard for their consistent support.The additional vessel will strengthen Nigeria’s ability to combat terrorism and illegal activity, he said. “I am glad to know that American support has greatly enhanced the capacity of the Nigerian Navy,” Obanikoro said.

The ceremony concluded as members of the Nigerian Navy filed onto the vessel taking command of the ship.The Gallatin was the second of its type to be donated to the Nigerian Navy.The Coast Guard Cutter Chase was transferred in 2011 and renamed NNS Thunder,officials said.

Later this year, a replacement ship from what’s been described as the next generation of Coast Guard national security cutters – the Hamilton – will arrive in Charleston. It will be the first of its kind on the East Coast with three others already pulling duty on the West Coast.

About 30 of the Gallatin’s crew members will be staying in Charleston and assigned to the Hamilton. Others are being transferred and reassigned. As a more modern ship, the Hamilton
needs only about 120 crew, as opposed to the more than 170 needed for the Gallatin. The newer ship boasts updated machinery, navigation and electronics that need less human observation, officials said.

About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies
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  1. to4shizzle says:

    Who wouldve figured Okpabana was da Name Welcome F-91 or is it F-92? Due to the Chinese Ship Sailin as we speak.
    Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone from Etisalat. Enjoy high speed mobile broadband on any of our Easyblaze plans. Visit for details.

  2. lordfej says:

    what does it mean

  3. Triggah says:

    Hurrah! Great news but no time to rest on our oars, we need to begin active coastal patrol immediatly.

  4. jimmy says:

    Iwould like to sincerely thank the US govt for sending yet another ship to the the Nigerian Navy the second ship which is a high endurance and ready made for Nigerian waters. This is the first piece of real good news in days.

  5. Bharat says:

    USA is grounding ‘OH-58 Kiowa Warriors’ and is looking for possible foreign customer. Can it be a option for Nigeria to explore as a stop gap arrangement for capacity building as even if order for new choppers are placed today, delivery of them will take time?

    • drag_on says:

      Well, we need a few air-reconnaissance assets,to comb the N.E.

    • doziex says:

      @Bharat, great idea, but in comparing the Kiowa to the German Bo-105 also slated for grounding, I wonder which will be the better option.

      • Bharat says:

        Thanks for informing me about MBB Bo-105. A twin engine helicopter is generally preferred over single engine one, but that being said other factors to look other than price, would be to look at the hours left in the air-frame, service history and availability of spares and services. Commonality of parts with successor models will be a plus.

  6. drag_on says:

    I guess,now we can start modifying as we please.

    • doziex says:

      I hope so. With every country in our neighborhood grabbing OPVs right left and center, we need to mount isreali Gabriel antiship missiles on all our warships.
      The barak anti aircraft missile is also necessary.

      We could also go for Chinese C-802 missiles.
      I say we should skip the French and their exocets, before they sell us some dummy, no exploding missile.

  7. beegeagle says:

    Someone said to me today that OKPABANA means THUNDER in one of our local languages. Dunno which.

  8. beegeagle says:

    Thank you, America. This is the sixth ship transferred to the NN by the USCG since 2003.

    Beginning in 2003-4, four 1,041 ton long-range and oceangoing ships were transferred to the NN. In May 2011 came the 3,250 ton high endurance NNS Thunder. Now this.

    Waiting for our traditional friends on the Isles to walk the talk in like manner. They know all our problems and should have at least one solution. Yarnsmen…so so tok, tok. Ofofo plenti.

  9. drag_on says:

    more photos of the handover here:

    It seems as though we will be keeping their Mk.92 Fire control system. It (the radome) was deleted in the NNS Thunder.

  10. max montero says:

    Congratulations to Nigeria and to the Nigerian Navy! May NNS Okpabana serve your country well and long!!

    As for thr NNS Thunder, isnt it the Nigerian Navy requested the FCS to be not included as NN opte to use an FCS already in service with other NN ships?


  11. beegeagle says:

    Admiral Max on the Leyte Gulf! How are you, man?

    Tell me

    – how did the hunt for decomm ships in Italy and France go?

    – how have you guys armed the sister ships of NNS Thunder in Philippine Navy service?

    – what are the details of the OPV which was acquired alongside the four OCEA FPB 72 Mk.IIs?

    • Max Montero says:

      Hi General Beeg!! I’m good here on the Pacific side!
      For your questions, all I bring are bad news.
      1. For the decom’d ships from Italy and France, still nothing. The Philippine Navy is focused more on the 2 new frigate acquisition, there are 6 qualified bidders that will submit a 2nd-stage bid soon. These are DSME, Hyundai Heavy Industries, STX, STX France, Garden Reach, and Navantia.
      2. The BRP Ramon Alcaraz is scheduled to have her Mk.38 Mod.2 guns within the year. The BRP Gregorio del Pilar still has the same mounts as last time. Any missile and sensor system upgrade might be dependent on the outcome of the 2 new frigate acquisition.
      3. No news on the French OPV for the Philippine Coast Guard. Even the former French Navy ex-La Tapageuse OPV acquisition did not push through. So far the only thing that moved are 10 new 40-meter patrol vessels from Japan for the PCG.

      Only good news recently for the navy so far are the bidding for 2 ASW helicopters are pushing through, with AgustaWestland and Bell Helicopters buying the bid documents.


  12. gbash10 says:

    .Congrat to the Nigerian Navy,and a big welcome to the NNS OKPABANA.
    Hmm…NNS ARADU(THUNDER),NN7 THUNDER and now NNS OKABANA(THUNDER).It is now time to arm our war ships to the teeth.

    • Are James says:

      One key advantage of these old ships is the training opportunities they offer cadets in Naval seamanship, gunnery, engine maintenance, communications, radar et.c.
      This basic knowledge is hard to acquire on modern ships with computers, digital technology and LCD screens that create a distance between the cadet and the nitty gritty.

  13. jimmy says:
    THANK GOD ! They are safe this could of been another disaster and the press would of had a field day.

  14. jimmy says:
    At the very least some people are now paying a heavy price
    congrats to the N.N. and to the E.F.C.C.

  15. max montero says:

    With the NN already having 2 units, it would be the best time to start the upgrades for both ships. Commonality issues can now be addressed since 2 ships would benefit from any decision the NN undertakes.

    Israel can offer their systems for the ships, which are middle choices between Western and Russian/Chinese.

  16. Number one says:

    The NN should consider the ex Italian carrier ‘Garibaldi’,as more African countries upgrade their armed forces we need to retain the ability to ‘kick in the door’ seeing as we do not have bases outside our country.Arm the carrier with the Mig-29k.

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