The Nigerian Navy, on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), with Dearsan Shipyard Turkey to refit and modernise its Flag Ship, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) ARADU to enhance its capability and reposition it for enhanced maritime security operations.
The agreement entered is also for the supply of additional 57-meters Fast Attack Craft to support the remodelled frigate.
NNS ARADU was commissioned into the Nigerian Navy Fleet in 1985, and has represented Nigeria in diverse naval operations and exercises within Africa and beyond. The ship is the only variant of the five MEKO 360 Frigates built in Germany for Argentine and Nigerian Navies.
The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, speaking at a brief MoU signing ceremony in Abuja, however noted that sustained use as well as the harsh operating environment has taken its toll on the edifice.
The Naval Chief enthused that the operationalisation of the two vessels will not only increase the Fleet of Ships but also reposition the Nigerian Navy for enhanced maritime security operations for socio-economic prosperity of Nigeria and Africa at large.
He noted that the choice of partnering with Messrs Dearsan Shipyard is based on the company’s track record in high-quality ship building capability, adding that organisation is currently constructing 2 High Endurance 76 meters Offshore Patrol Vessels for the Nigerian Navy in Turkey.
“This Memorandum of Understanding is not just a piece of paper. It re-ignites partnership between both organisations in several ways, including but not limited to promoting synergy towards enhancing security as well as fostering operations and shipbuilding engagements that would enhance capability for the sustainable development of the Blue Economy for Nigeria’s prosperity”, he said.
In his remarks, the Chief Policy and Plans (Navy), Rear Admiral Saidu Garba, while noting that the 125.6 meter ship was the largest in the navy inventory as a general proposed frigate, said that NNS ARADU was an all-purpose frigate fighting ship capable of undertaking several missions in concert with other units.
He said it has a sustained and independent blue water patrol over a range of 6500 miles and provides gunfire support to friendly forces operating up to 16 kilometers from the coast.
The Managing Director, Dearsan Shipyard Turkey, Mr Mukat Gordi, at the ceremony held in the Naval Headquarters in Abuja disclosed that the 76m offshore patrol vessels will be launched by the end of 2023.