The 88 metre 2,535 ton behemoth, formerly known as KNM Horten during her Norwegian Navy incarnation where she served as an auxiliary vessel supporting the operations of Hauk-class motor torpedo and missile craft, now flies the flag of Nigeria and serves in the fleet of the Maritime Guard Command, the enforcement arm of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). She reportedly serves as a Fisheries Protection and Offshore Patrol Vessel and is by far the largest vessel in the fleet of the Maritime Guard Command.
PHOTO CREDIT: DAGBLADET (Norway)
Painted in the colours of NIMASA and pictured on patrol in the Bonny River of the Niger Delta above is “NIMASA OGLAKIRIGHA”. She is one of six demilitarised 37m Hauk class missile+torpedo boats which were stripped of offensive weaponry (missiles and torpedoes) ever before they entered Nigerian service where they serve as patrol craft armed with light weapons. NIMASA is an agency under the FEDERAL MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT.
In Nigerian naval service, patrol craft of this size category (as suffices for the 31m NNS ANDONI, 32m NNS DORINA and the 38m NNS ZARIA+BURUTU) are typically armed with a 20m cannon (25mm cannons for Shaldag gunboats) fore, a 12.7mm heavy machine gun made by Singapore Technologies Kinetics aft and a PKM 7.62mm GPMG amidships…optimised for anti-piracy, fisheries protection, anti-bunkering (illegal) operations. This panoply of armaments appears to be what the Navy have sustained in their operations under the auspices of the Maritime Guard Command.
It is decipherable that the weapon encircled in red at the rear in the second photo of the 37m patrol craft and erroneously labelled as a 20mm weapon by DAGBLADET is not what it is described as. That is a CIS-50 12.7mm HMG. It is visibly of a smaller calibre than the white coloured fore-mounted weapon (pictured in front – a 20mm cannon)
The Maritime Guard Command(MGC), a quasi-Coast Guard, is jointly staffed by personnel of NIMASA and elements of Nigeria’s defence and security architecture chiefly deployed on secondment, the Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force, Marine Police, Customs Marine Unit and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.
The now appreciable fleet of the Maritime Guard Command includes 10-metre Boston Whaler interceptors, brand-new 18 metre patrol boats manufactured by ARESA (Spain) and a handful of larger coastal patrol craft.
However, this haul of a 2,500+ ton oceangoing patrol vessel and six 37m patrol craft represents the boldest leap forward by the Maritime Guard Command as they will now be able to step up midshore and offshore patrols in the quest to enforce maritime laws and boost security in our territorial waters. They are the largest assets in the MGC fleet.
In the light of the foregoing, it is obvious that the scare mongering occasioned by the purported acquisition of seven “BATTLESHIPS” as reported by pedestrians in Nigerian media circles amounts to a stretch. Where then are the missiles and torpedoes on the NIMASA patrol craft above, derisively labelled as Tompolo’s battleships? Yeye dey smell…
WARSHIPS BELONG TO NIMASA,NOT TOMPOLO – NN BRANCH CHIEF
WORDS ON MARBLE
“..the role of Global West in this partnership was to just “to provide the platforms, maintain them, bunker and crew them, while the military provides security. All that NIMASA officials do is jump into the boat anytime it wants to go into the waters.”
– Patrick Akpobolokemi, Director General NIMASA
IN THE BEGINNING…
At the time (October 2013) when three of the six ex-Hauk craft were inducted into Maritime Guard Command service, it was absolutely clear that they arrived our shores absolutely stripped bare of ALL weaponry. It was only after the Nigerian Navy had mounted a mixed panoply of 20mm cannons, 12.7mm HMGs and PKM GPMGs on them, as it typical for ships deployed for counterpiracy and waterways security operations, that the first three Hauk patrol craft commenced patrols on Christmas Day in 2013.