Friday, February 26, 2016 11:48 am
Towards stepping up its fight against crude oil theft, sea piracy and other maritime crimes, the Nigerian Navy has procured and launched 25 locally made security patrol boats. The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas said on Thursday in Port Harcourt that the boats which are less expensive than imported ones, boast the necessary features suitable for military operations.
According to the Chief of Naval Staff, the cost of production of a unit of the boats is less than half the cost of producing similar boats from overseas. The Nigerian Navy decided to look inwards by contracting local ship building vendors for the provision of some of her defence articles due to the current serious economic downturn, and the decision has helped in conserving foreign exchange.
The indigenous manufacturers of the boats have also been given the opportunity to prove themselves while garnering experience in the process. Vice Admiral Ibas says the boats would help the Navy to effectively monitor the creeks and further protect the maritime space, and consequently those doing legitimate business from harassment by criminal elements.
The boats are 8.2 metres in length, with speed of about 40 knots. Each of the boats also has two gun mounts, a radar system that can detect shallow waters and two 250 horsepower outboard engines. Apart from having 16 to 18 hours of endurance to their credit, the boats are also fitted with outboard engines and life rafts.
Nyesom Wike, the Rivers State governor has also pledged that the state is ready to support the Nigerian Navy in its efforts at combating criminal activities in the maritime space. ‘’We will partner with the security agencies and will not relent in ensuring that we provide all the necessary logistics for the patrol boats,” Wike assured the Naval Chief. The governor has demanded for a list of the Navy’s requests to underline the state’s commitment.
In the next two months, the Navy is expected to take delivery of 50 more security patrol boats with more improved features and anti-ballistic protection, towards ensuring that the nation’s waters are saturated with patrol boats for improved security.