By Benson Akomo
WorldStage Newsonline– Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) on Tuesday donated three boats -a 32metre OCEA and two 17metres MANTA boats – worth $20 million to the Nigerian Navy to boost the force’s capability at sea.
The Managing Director, NPA, Habib Abdullahi said during the official handing over at the Headquarters, Western Naval Command (WNC), Apapa in Lagos thta the patrol boats built in South Africa were bought for the navy to enhance its capacity in the surveillance of the nation’s maritime space.
Abdullahi said the presentation was a demonstration of NPA’s commitment to collaborating with other maritime stakeholders to ensure security both in and off shore.
The OCEA, he said has been named NNS DORINA (P101), while the MANTA boats NNS TORIE (P258) and NNS EGEDE (P259).
With their unique operational features and capacities, Abdullahi said the boats will augment navy’s search and rescue fleet.
“To enhance our commitment and support to navy’s surveillance of the nation’s territorial waters, the NPA in collaboration with Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has plans to rehabilitate the Forward Operation Base (FOB) of the navy located at Takwa Bay,” he said.
Receiving the vessels, the Chief of Naval Staff, (CNS) Vice Admiral Usman Jibril said they came at the appropriate time considering the prevailing challenges in the nation’s maritime domain.
Represented by the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) WNC Rear Admiral Sanmi Alade, the CNS reiterated the importance of the maritime space to the nation’s economic growth.
He said the donated boats will assist the force in its fight against oil thieves and other economic saboteurs at sea.
“The nation’s principal Sea Lanes of Communication (SLOC) for export and import trades traverse therough these major seaports. The need to protect these strategic assets underscore the significance of the occasion.
“The acquisition of these platforms is a notable step in our joint efforts towards the establishment of an FOB in Takwa Bay as a strategy aimed at securing the ever busy Lagos waters against the activities of pirates, illegal oil bunkerers and pipeline vandals.”