Simon’s Town yesterday welcomed the newest addition to the Nigerian navy fleet when NNS Unity ported at SA Navy fleet headquarters.
She is the second and final P18N offshore patrol vessel (OPV) built by China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Company (CSOC) for the west African country’s maritime service.
According to a statement issued by the Nigerian Navy NNS Unity will strengthen that country’s efforts against “maritime crimes and illegalities in the nation’s territorial waters and the Gulf of Guinea”.
The newest addition to the Nigerian fleet has ported at Simon’s Town as one of its port calls on friendly nations before arriving in Nigeria. This, the statement said, will further boost “existing cordial relationships with sister navies around the world and the Gulf of Guinea in particular”.
NNS Unit departed China on September 21. Delivery of the vessel was delayed with its arrival originally set for the end of last year. The first P18N OPV, NNS Centenary, was also built by CSOC and arrived in Nigeria in February 2015.
Nigeria ordered the two 1 800 ton Chinese OPVs in April 2012 and construction began that October. The vessels are based on the Type 056 corvette in service with the People’s Liberation Army Navy. They are 95 metres long, with a draft of 3,5m. They are powered by two MTU 20V 4000M diesel engines, giving a speed of 21 knots, and are armed with one H/PJ26 76 mm and two H/PJ14 30 mm guns.
Crew complement is 70, endurance 20 days with a range of 3 000 nautical miles at 14 knots. The vessels can carry and support a helicopter off a rear deck.
Picture: Allan Roy