By Evelyn Usman
History was made today in Les Sables d’Olonne, France, with the launch of the first ever purpose built hydrographic survey vessel by the Nigerian Navy, to enhance maritime safety in the Nigerian water and the Gulf of Guinea.
The new vessel, which construction began in 2018, replaces the Nigerian Navy survey vessel- NNS LANA, which was decommissioned about ten years ago.
It is scheduled to join the Nigerian Navy fleet in 2021.
Speaking at the ceremony held at the OCEA Shipyard, France, Chief of the Naval Staff, CNS Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, described the occasion as one which marked a giant stride in the efforts towards actualizing the dreams of not only restoring but enhancing Nigerian Navy’s survey capability..
Represented by Rear Admiral Abraham Adaji, the CNS, hinted that surveying and charting played a crucial role in ensuring safe navigation as well as delivery of maritime security.
Accordingly, he revealed that the new vessel would not only enhance safety of Nigeria’s maritime environment but would also serve as a critical component of deployment of naval power for enhanced maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.
He added that the vessel would also “ play a critical role in protection of maritime resources and preservation of law and order at sea, thereby contributing significantly to the promotion of global maritime commerce”.
He therefore, expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari, for what he described as his unflinching support towards the recapitalization of the Nigerian Navy Fleet.
Earlier, Mr Fabrice Weinbach, who represented the Chief Executive Officer of OCEA, Mr Roland Joassard, said the LANA was the result of the excellent cooperation between the Nigerian Navy and OCEA teams and also demonstrated the willingness of Nigeria to improve the knowledge of the country’s waters with a sea proven platform and up-to-date equipment.
He also added that the OCEA and Nigerian Navy relations would be strengthened through the supply of integrated logistic support services which included training, maintaining the operational readiness of the crew, the ship “LANA” and her equipment and systems, as well as the on-site technical assistance
On her part, Nigeria’s Ambassador to France, Mrs Modupe Enitan Irele, highlighted the significance of the ceremony as a manifestation of good Nigeria – French relations.
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