The Navy also inaugurated 45 operational vehicles to be shared among the commands and units of the navy to aid operational efficiency.
Speaking at the official inauguration, conducted in Lagos on Wednesday, August 17, the Minister of Defence, Brig-Gen. Mohammad Dan-Ali, represented by Permanent Secretary, Danjuma Sheni, said:
“The country’s security challenges have continued to demand a great deal of human and material resources to surmount, which in the light of dwindling revenue would be sustainable only with generous innovations and incorporation of home grown solutions.”
It was reported that the acquired maritime platforms included; 30 Epenal boats, three Wave Riders, six Arrow Heads, NNS Karaduwa, 28.9 metres SDB – all of which was fabricated and built in Nigeria by personnel of the navy.
General Dan-Ali informed that the Epenal Boat Yard, Port Hacourt was contracted to construct 30 by 8.2m boats for the navy in 2015, which was delivered earlier this year and were immediately inducted into the service and used for rigorous patrols in the Niger Delta.
“Their availability has helped to stem the tide of criminal activities in the area. Encouraged by the success of the venture, the contract for a further 50 was immediately awarded which has yielded the additional 30 boats being launched today and the remaining 20 will be delivered subsequently.
“The boats were fitted with appropriate weapons than the former as they benefited from a better antiballistic protection and other facilities being an improvement promised at the launch of their precursors.
“I am hopeful that the boats being launched today would further boost the ongoing patrol efforts in the various rivers and creeks of the country to the immense benefit of the nation’s maritime security.”
Also present at the occasion is the Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok Ete-Ibas, who informed that out of the 39 boats launched, nine were acquired from Sri Lanka and would be greatly helpful for patrol of territorial waters and the contiguous zone.
Ete-Ibas described the efforts as navy’s modest contribution to enhance national security and prosperity, adding that the decision of the navy to build boats locally was part of its resolve to look inwards in the production of the nation’s naval hardware.
According to him, the cost of production of a unit of the boat is less than half the cost of producing similar boats from overseas.
“These boats retained all positive features of the previous set including being fitted with appropriate weapons for credible firepower, with incorporation of anti-ballistic protection, giving it an edge for more audacious and aggressive employment.
“They are also expected to present a better sea-keeping ability with a wide margin for the many corrections applied to the design concept of Lot 1, through series of stage trials in the production cycle.”
The Chairman Senate Committee on Navy, Senator Isa Aman-Isa, said the committee would support the NN to tackle all maritime insecurity.