By Doris Esa
Abuja – The Nigerian Navy (NN) has acquired a Landing Ship Tank (LST) 100 to enhance Nigeria’s maritime environment.
Speaking on Monday at the keel-laying ceremony for the LST at Messrs DAMEN Shipyard Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete-Ibas, said the LST would play crucial roles in Nigeria’s maritime security.
They were designed during World War II to disembark military forces without the use of dock facilities or the various cranes and lifts necessary to unload merchant ships.
“Today’s ceremony is a significant step toward actualising the dream of restoring NN’s sea-lift capability, after the Service decommissioned two similar LSTs more than 10 years ago.
“I recall that the Nigerian Government acquired two Type 502 amphibious vessels NNS AMBE and NNS OFIOM, built by HDW German builders in 1978.
“These vessels served the Navy meritoriously in the 1980s-90s, playing significant roles during the ECOMOG intervention Operations in Liberia and Sierra Leone, as well as other peace support operations in Lebanon.
“The NN’s acquisition of this LST 100 will certainly go a long way in filling the operational gap created by the decommissioning of the two NN ships.”
The CNS noted that the bid for the project was highly competitive, as several other shipbuilding companies tendered for her construction.
“Specifically, the ship will be engaged in the protection of maritime resources and the preservation of law and order at sea, thus contributing significantly to promotion of global maritime commerce and maritime power projection in Nigerian Maritime environment and the Gulf of Guinea at large.
“It is therefore my fervent belief that this Shipyard will complete the construction of the LST with all the attention and due diligence that it deserves, to rekindle our historic relationship and pave way for other areas of collaboration in the future,” he said.
Ibas said that the selection of DAMEN Shipyards to execute the project was based on its track record, engineering as well as a belief in the company’s ability to adhere to the timeline for delivery.
“The Nigerian Navy is confident that you will not only build this Ship in line with the specifications and configuration to the highest standards, but also deliver the project on schedule. Timely delivery is not negotiable,” he said.
The naval chief thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his untiring support for the rejuvenation of the Nigerian Navy fleet since assumption of office.