The Nigerian Navy has received one of the latest war ships recently acquired from the United States of America, named, NNS OKPABANA.
A reception for the ship was held at the Naval Dockyard jetty, Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos on Friday January 2, 2015.
Speaking at the event, Jeffrey Hawkins, the U.S. Consul General, said he was excited to see the arrival of the NNS Okpabana.
He said, “On behalf of the United States, we are very excited to see the arrival of the NNS Okpabana”.
The Okpabana represents a significant addition to the Nigerian fleet and to the capability of the Nigerian Navy to secure Nigeria’s waters in the Gulf of Guinea.
“The United States is pleased to see the expanding capabilities of the Nigerian Navy with the arrival of this second high endurance cutter. Many of the region’s security challenges come from the sea, and this powerful new naval platform will significantly enhance Nigeria’s ability to control the maritime environment.
“The Okpabana, like the Thunder before her, strongly demonstrates in steel grey America’s commitment to enhancing Nigeria’s security.
From the transfer of major naval assets like this one, to training for Nigeria’s elite naval special operations units, to multi-national training exercises, the United States is fully engaged with our Nigerian Navy counterparts. We work closely with this country’s Navy and with all of Nigeria’s service arms, to counter threats to Nigerian and African security,” Hawkins said.
He noted that “We have a common interest in a peaceful, well policed Gulf of Guinea, and support from the United States significantly increases Nigeria’s ability to reach this shared goal”.
The arrival of the Okpabana completes a process that started in 2012. Her crew of 170 officers and sailors brought her to life in May last year in Charleston, South Carolina. She sailed from the United States last month after completing overhaul where she gained a new capability. Okpabana is the first Nigerian vessel to have a Regional Maritime Awareness Capability, R-Mack, system on board.
This system will link back to the Nigerian Navy’s wider R-Mack network and expand the Nigerian Navy’s ability to track and identify vessels throughout the Gulf of Guinea.
Her cannons, helicopter flight deck, and Special Boat Service personnel stand ready to protect Nigeria and her interests at sea. She is a fully operational warship ready for patrols in the Gulf of Guinea today.
Okpabana follows Thunder into the Nigerian fleet. The transfer of Okpabana illustrates the robust maritime cooperation that exists between the United States and Nigeria.
In addition to this ship, Nigeria and the United States work closely together to coordinate and maintain maritime domain awareness through the U.S. funded and sourced Regional Maritime Awareness Capability network operated by the Nigerian Navy.
The United States looks forward to seeing the Okpabana take her place in helping secure Nigeria’s maritime domain and the wider Gulf of Guinea.