Germany has donated five patrol boats to the Nigerian Navy, which will use them to patrol Lake Chad.
The boats were handed over on 13 March by Consul General of the German Embassy, Ingo Herbert, to Chief of Logistics, Naval Headquarters, Rear Admiral James Oluwole at Onne, Rivers State.
Herbert said the boats would be used to combat insurgency – Boko Haram terrorists have previously staged attacks in the vicinity of Lake Chad and have largely managed to elude Nigerian military patrols.
“The five boats are part of the greater initiatives of Germany in enhancing the peace and security of partner governments. The focus is to support partner countries in the fight against terrorism,” Herbert is quoted by This Day as saying. “These boats will not only primarily contribute in your fight in the North-east, but also to fight illegal fishing, oil theft and other maritime crimes.
“Especially when you consider how important the maritime traffic is, with more than 90% of all growth worldwide really using maritime to reach their goals, it is very important to keep the maritime environment free of criminal elements.
“A very important aspect of this donation is that the boats are built in Nigeria. So it is actually a co-operation and has full local content.”
The five boats were built by Nigeria’s Epenal Group shipyard in Port Harcourt. They are 8.2 metres long and have a glass-reinforced plastic hull able to accommodate up to seven people. They are powered by two 250 hp Yamaha outboard engines and armed with 12.7 mm machineguns and automatic grenade launchers. Top speed is 35-40 knots.
Epenal has delivered a number of boats to the Nigerian Navy – 60 of the 8.2 metre boats have been delivered over the last year, and Epenal delivered 16 refurbished boats to eh Navy in November 2017.
After the boats were handed over, German officials were taken through some of the creeks in the Niger Delta, during which Nigerian Navy personnel arrested five suspected oil thieves and boats loaded with illegally refined fuel.
“I am glad that the German Government through the donation we made today to the Nigerian Navy could assist the Nigerian Government to deal with this kind of situations. I saw the vast area, the challenges with regard to the ecological system, to the people and the challenge to restore the Rule of Law and security. I appreciate the efforts of the Nigerian Navy,” Herbert said.