The Nigerian Navy Ship Thunder made local naval history on December 18 when she returned from Sydney, Australia after participating in the Royal Australian Navy Centenary International Fleet Review.
The warship, which departed Nigerian waters in August, was the only African naval ship to take part in the centenary.
Apart from flying Nigeria’s flag in Australia where some 37 other navies participated in the centenary event, the voyage afforded the Nigerian warship the opportunity to engage in inter-naval training exercises, social and sporting activities that enriched the professional skills of the crew in diverse areas.
Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Joseph Ezeoba who received the ship on her return from the International Fleet Review said NNS Thunder and her crew made Nigeria proud as worthy ambassadors. According to him the Australian Navy centenary not only enabled the Nigerian Navy to showcase her potentials and professional capabilities but deepened the country’s foreign policy and accorded Nigeria international recognition as a maritime power especially in the sub-region.
Represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans at Naval Headquarters, Rear Admiral Emmanuel Ogbor, the Chief of Naval Staff reiterated the desire of the Nigerian Navy to continue to build on the achievements of the Centenary Fleet Review to enhance the capability of the Nigerian Navy.
In his brief to the Chief of the Naval Staff ship’s commander Captain Clement Atebi said Thunder embarked on the voyage with 165 personnel including five females who also returned with the ship after spending a total of four months and 10 days at sea. The ship made port calls to eight countries among which were Angola, Congo, South Africa, Namibia and Mauritius.
A major breakthrough recorded by NNS Thunder is that she is the first Nigerian Navy ship to have participated in an International Fleet Review with female personnel fully active. Indeed, she lent further credence to transformation in the Nigerian Navy which is empowering female personnel to compete equally and fairly with their male counterparts.
This information was received from the Nigerian Navy after defenceWeb had closed for the year and is published because of the high level of interest shown in the African navy’s participation in the International Fleet Review, the single largest naval event of last year – defenceWeb.
The west African country has taken another step in its bid to become self-reliant on local construction of naval platforms.
Its 38m seaward defence boat (SDB) project has already seen NNS Andoni commissioned and “no stone is being left unturned” on construction of SDB 2 according to the Nigerian Navy website.
It is presently under construction at the Naval Dockyard Limited. The project started with construction of the inverted hull as a single unit, while the superstructure is being built as a separate entity. Upon completion of both units they will be welded together to achieve a single compact unit. The various segments of the superstructure have been fabricated and welded together.
Hull construction was completed on December 22 and more Nigerian Navy history made when it was turned from its inverted position to upright and placed on keel blocks. This was the first time this evolution had taken place in the Nigerian Navy and was executed with a 100% Nigerian team. The boat is now ready for the next stage of the project which includes welding of the superstructure, construction of tanks, piping systems, electrical installations and installation of propulsion machinery amongst others. The vessel is expected to be commissioned into the fleet this year.