By Chiemelie Ezeobi
To boost its maritime capability in safeguarding the nation‚Äôs waterways from piracy and other illegalities, the Nigerian Navy (NN) is set to take delivery of two new warships built in the United States and China.
The new warships, which will be joining other NN platforms, were custom-built in China and already over 50 naval personnel have already departed Nigeria for China to bring back the first vessel, an Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV).
The China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Company had recently launched the NN‚Äôs first of two P-18N offshore patrol vessels and it was assigned the pennant number F91.
The launch of the first OPV also marked the hull formation ceremony of the second vessel, F92 and although the first OPV will be built entirely in China, between 50 and 70 per cent of the second ship will be constructed in Nigeria in an effort to enhance local shipbuilding capability and provide technology transfer.
While delivery of F91 is expected in the middle of the year, the second vessel is also expected to arrive sometime this year and be completed then or early 2015.
The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Naval Training Command, Rear Admiral Goddy Anyankpele, who disclosed this to THISDAY, said the command played a role by training the personnel that would steer the vessel for its homeward journey back to Nigeria from China.
He said, ‚ÄúThe training of naval officers and men that will bring the vessel home, was done at the command and it has commenced training for a new set of personnel that will travel to the United States to take custody of the United States Coast Guard Ship, Gallatine.
‚ÄúAlso, the command has also started training for prospective participants at the National Defence College, commonly called Cadre in naval parlance, which was adjudged very successful as the NDC qualifying examination result revealed over 90 per cent pass by naval officers.‚Äù