NNS Thunder, Africa’s only representative in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) international fleet review, has ported in Jervis Bay ahead of the review that starts next Thursday.
The Nigerian ship left her home port of Calabar on August 2 and made port calls at Luanda, Cape Town, Port Louis and Fremantle en route to Jervis Bay where she joins up with at least 25 other warships participating in the review.
The review commemorates the centenary of the first ever entry of a RAN ship into Sydney. The selection of Jervis Bay as the assembly point for the international fleet taking part in the review is of historical significance because it follows the navigational path the first Australian fleet of seven warships took prior to entering Sydney Harbour on October 4, 1913. That fleet comprised HMAS Australia (flagship), cruisers HMAS Melbourne, HMAS Sydney and HMAS Encounter and the destroyers HMAS Warrego, Parramatta and Yarra.
Thunder was acquired by the Nigerian Navy late in 2011 as an excess defence article under the US Foreign Assistance Act. She was previously the US Coast Guard cutter Chase (WHEC-718).
Once the review, the single largest maritime event of the year, is concluded, Thunder will depart for her home port stopping at Melbourne, Albany, Port des Galet, Durban, Walvis Bay and Pointe Noire before coming alongside in Calabar on December 18.
Navies that have accepted invitations to the RAN international fleet review are Royal Brunei Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, People’s Liberation Army Navy, French Navy, Indian Navy, Indonesian Navy, Japan Maritime Self Defence Force, Royal Malaysian Navy, Federated States of Micronesia Maritime Police Unit, Royal New Zealand Navy, Papua New Guinea Defence Force – Maritime Operations Element, Republic of Singapore Navy, Spanish Navy, Republic of Korea Navy, Royal Thai Navy, Russian Navy, Tongan Defence Services – Maritime Force, the Royal Navy and the US Navy.
Host country Australia will have 19 of its warships in the review lead by HMAS Sydney, one of four guided missile frigates in its fleet. Other RAN maritime assets in the review include fisheries protection vessels, amphibious heavy lifters, submarines, Anzac Class frigates, a Bay Class landing ship dock, minehunters, heavy landing craft and survey and hydrographic vessels.