The Nigerian Nayv’s new tank landing ship (LST) NNS Kada has arrived in Cape Town while on its delivery voyage in what is a historic visit to South Africa.
The vessel arrived in South Africa on Tuesday 3 May, 13 days after visiting the Port of Mombasa in Kenya and just over a month after departing her shipyard in the United Arab Emirates. The Nigerian Navy said that upon arrival in Cape Town, the NNS Kada was received by Nigeria’s High Commissioner to South Africa, Mohammed Manta, and a delegation from the Naval Headquarters led by the Flag Officer Commanding Naval Training Command, Rear Admiral Monday Unurhiere, who represented the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS).
In his goodwill message to the ship’s crew, Manta stated that the visit of the NNS Kada will further strengthen bilateral relations between Nigeria and South Africa and that the vessel will further bolster Nigeria’s effort in ensuring adequate maritime security in Nigeria and the West African subregion.
On Thursday, the Nigerian delegation paid a visit to the Flag Officer Fleet of the SA Navy at Simons Town before the vessel leaves on the weekend. During her stay in South Africa, NNS Kada is scheduled to carry out naval diplomatic activities before departing for Luanda, Angola. The vessel is due to arrive home on 27 May.
In mid-April, Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, visited Damen Shipyard Cape Town as well as the Naval Museum in Simons Town. He also boarded the SA Navy frigate SAS Mendi and visited the Chief of Naval Staff of the SA Navy.
NNS Kada was built by Damen Shipyards in the United Arab Emirates. The vessel departed the UAE on 1 April on the 8 400 nautical mile delivery voyage. NNS Kada was handed over to the Nigerian Navy on 30 March this year after being ordered in May 2018 and launched on 7 June 2021.
The Nigerian Navy said the new vessel (LST 1314) will bolster the Nigerian Navy’s sealift capability. Specifically, it will enhance the transportation of troops, military hardware, vehicles in the conduct of maritime security operations launched from sea as well as supply of relief material during period of national emergency.
“Furthermore, the vessel will serve as a critical component of naval power projection for enhanced maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea and beyond. In its secondary role, the LST will play a critical role in the protection of maritime assets and preservation of law and order at sea, thus contributing significantly to promotion of global maritime commerce, peace and safety,” the Nigerian Navy said.
The new LST has a complement of 32 crew and 250 embarked persons and a length of 100.08 metres. NNS Kada is powered by two Caterpillar/Cat 3516 C-rating engines (1 650-3386 hp each) and four Caterpillar C-18 generators. The vessel has an endurance of 15 days/4 000 nautical miles at 15 knots and a maximum speed of 16 knots. If used for humanitarian missions/evacuation, NNS Kada can accommodate over 450 persons on the upper and lower decks on short trips.
The 1 300 ton LST has a bow ramp that allows for the direct transfer to and from beaches and is rated to 70 tonnes. The internal ramp is rated at 30 tonnes and the stern ramp 70 tonnes. The vessel can carry two embarked LCVPs (landing craft, vehicle, personnel), a helicopter/UAV on the flight deck, unmanned undersea vehicles and miscellaneous cargo with a 25 ton deck crane.
The new vessel will replace the landing ships NNS Ambe and NNS Ofiom, which were decommissioned ten years ago. They were Type 502 amphibious vessels built by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) in Germany in 1978. These vessels served the Navy well in the 1980s-90s, playing significant roles during the ECOMOG intervention Operations in Liberia and Sierra Leone, as well as other peace support operations.