..she will help curb maritime crimes, piracy – Admiral Gambo assures
By: Okosun Dennis
The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo has restated its commitment and that of the Nigerian Navy to fight the vagaries of maritime crimes and pirates in the Nigerian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) up to the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) maritime domain.
He gave the assurance on Friday at the NNS Beecroft Parade Ground, Apapa, Lagos while receiving NNS KADA into the Nigerian Navy inventory, which he says, would enhance naval presence at sea to curb maritime crimes within Nigerian waters.
Receiving the ship and its crew after 56 days voyage from the United Arab Emirates to Nigeria, the CNS expressed with profound gratitude to God for the safe passage, and the unflinching support of President Buhari’s budgetry allocation to the force in its recapitalization efforts.
He noted that the induction of the ship would further enhance Nigerian Navy “deterrence capability against maritime crimes and illegalities” within the nation’s maritime domain and Gulf of Guinea.
“The vessel would serve as a force multiplier to project power, respond to humanitarian crises and convey relief materials in support of non-kinetic operations within the region and beyond. NNS KADA will no doubt boost the Nigerian Navy’s capability in support of ECOWAS mandate.”
In a separate interview with the CNS on board the ship, while speaking on maintenance of the newest fleet, Vice Admiral Gambo averred that efforts are on to acquire another one to compliment NNS KADA.
“This landing ship should come in pairs and we are making efforts and the government is determined to provide a sister edifice which would enhance our operations. We are expecting to get another one anytime soon.
“On curbing the nuisance value of piracy, he warned the criminals that despite delisting Nigeria from the piracy prone countries on the 3rd March, 2022, the Nigerian Navy is poised to ensure that their presences at sea is sustained as the ship would invariably boast their efforts in that regards.
“It will support our presence at sea and in the GoG. Maritime crimes are planned on land and executed at sea. With the collective efforts of our regional Navy, it will assist in curbing piracy.
“Like you know, International Maritime Bureau has delisted Nigeria from piracy prone countries. We must continue to sustain efforts to maintain the feat so far achieved. We are on top of our game especially with the collaborative efforts of other services like the NIMASA, NDLEA and others towards curbing this crime in our waters,” Admiral Gambo concluded.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Flag Officer Commanding, (FOC) Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral YB Wambai, with deep sense of ecstacy noted that the Nigerian Navy after receiving NNS LANA a year ago, the force was adding another fleet to its inventory.
However, he observed that in the process of discharging its constitutional role, the force is faced with numerous challenges such as “crude oil theft, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, smuggling, arms proliferation, sea robbery and piracy amongst others.”
He adumbrated that as a leading Navy in African Continent, they would strive to ensure that all the intractable challenges are mitigated to ensure optimal performance.
To this end, Admiral Wambai noted that the Nigerian Navy formulated Strategic Plan to enhance optimal performance in light of 21 Century trends, galvanising in Fleet Renewal to replace the aging Fleet in the Nigerian Navy.
“With the acquisition of NNS KADA, NN is better positioned to enhance its operations, especially as it concerns sea lift operations and presence at sea. NNS KADA is a replacement of the decommissioned Landing Ship Tanks Nigerian Navy Ship AMBE/OFIOM, Rear Admiral Wambai reiterated.
On his part, the Commanding Officer, NNS KADA, Captain Reginald Adoki, who was elated, expressed satisfaction with the smooth seal of the ship to Nigeria after 56 days of voyage.
“We had the opportunity to see the world in this voyage. It has been wonderful, remarkable and rewarding. You can see the moral of the crew is very high and we are looking forward to what comes next.”
Describing the capability of the ship, which is first of its kind in the history of the Nigerian Navy, Capt Adoki added that it is a landing ship transport – a ship that does more than what traditional landing tanks were known for during the World War 2 where they only carry tanks.
“It does both the carrying of tanks in the traditional way and others; carrying of cargoes and logistics from one place to another. This is the first type of ship that is multi-role. It carry out humanitarian and disaster relief operations and non-combat evacuation – Search and Rescue operations. The first time the Navy is having this kind of ship.
While appreciating the enormous efforts of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Gambo in repositioning the Navy, a former CNS, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba (retd) cautioned that the acquisition of NNS KADA (LST 1314) being about the biggest Landing Transport Tank in Africa, said enormous resources must be provided for maintenance.
“The Nigerian Navy must consider the requirements for sustainability of this platform and should put enough resources, at least, 40% of the cost of this ship annually for maintenance and that has to be appropriated by the National Assembly otherwise we would have a challenge in maintaining and sustaining this edifice,” Admiral Ezeoba (retd) observed.
With robust historical facts, Nigerian Navy Ship KADA was built by Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) at Albwardy Damen Shipbuilding Yard in Sharjah, United Arab Emirate.
It was learnt that it is a Landing Ship Transport (LST) in the LST100 series of DSNS, with its keel laid on 9th December 2019 while she was delivered to the Nigerian Navy in March 2022.
The building of this Ship is the outcome of the Nigerian Navy’s drive to reactivate its sea lift capability. The Ship is fitted with capabilities to conduct a wide range of naval security operations including amphibious operations, transportation and logistics.
During her maiden voyage covering a distance of 8,414.34 nautical miles to Nigeria, NNS KADA’s paid port calls to five countries, which included Port Duqm in Oman, Port Mombasa in Kenya, as it made history being the first Nigerian Navy warship to visit Kenya on Saturday, 16th April, 2022 and Port Cape Town in South Africa.
Others are Port Luanda in Angola and Port Gentil in Gabon, which were in consonance with Nigerian Navy’s diplomatic role, and to consolidate the nation’s relations with friendly littoral states and allies.
“KADA”, by translation means Crocodile in Hausa language of Nigeria which depicts the amphibious role of the ship.
Present at the reception ceremony were the former Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba (retd) Vice Admiral Ezekobe, the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 81 Division, Nigerian Army, Maj Gen Umar Musa, who was represented by Brig Gen KN Nwoko, the Commandant, Nigerian Armed Forces Resettlement Centre (NAFRC) Oshodi, Air Vice Marshal Lubo; Director General, NIMASA, Rep of DG, Nigerian Waterways and family members of NNS KADA crew.