By Odita Sunday
TWO warships, the Royal and French naval warships have arrived Nigeria for joint maritime training and operations with the personnel of the Nigerian Navy.
The training, according to Naval spokesman in Lagos, Lieutenant Commander Jerry Omodara, would enhance the security of the West African Coast.
The British navy popularly called the Royal Navy came into Nigerian port with HMS Dauntless, a destroyer warship, under the Command of Captain Will Warrender. His French counterpart, Commander Bourhis Gwenegan sailed into Lagos with L’Herminier war vessel, a frigate.
The Commanding officers of the two ships were escorted to the headquarters of the Western Naval Command, Apapa, Lagos by their respective countries’ Defence Advisers in Nigeria, Colonel James Hugh and Colonel Marcelo Oliveira.
During a courtesy visit to the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ameen Ikioda, both Commanding Officers noted that the partnership was to strengthen the control of West Africa Coast against piracy and sea criminality.
Commanding Officers of the ships were received by the FOC and his management team including the Chief Staff Officer, (CSO) Commodore Adebowale Dacosta, Command Operations Officer, (COO) Commodore Henry Babalola, Fleet Commander, Western Naval Command, Commodore Livinus Iwuoha and Captain Saheed Akinwande, among others.
Speaking during the courtesy visit, the Commanding Officer of Royal Navy Ship HMS Dauntless Captain Warrender, said the collaboration is a timely venture that would see the participating countries pool their resources to ensure that the maritime domain of West Africa is free from criminality, thereby boosting economic activities.
Warrender added that while in the country, they would be conducting joint training operations towards developing capacity in maritime operation.
“It is an absolute honour to come to Nigeria, the first of our visit since the commissioning of HMS Dauntless two years ago. The HMS Dauntless is one of the most advanced destroyer warships in the world today. The ship left the United Kingdom in March and will head back in October after the conclusion of this joint collaboration with Nigeria and some other West African countries,” he said.
His French counterpart, Colonel Gwenegan, acknowledged the great work the Nigerian Navy was doing on the waterways, especially on the Gulf of Guinea where constant patrol of different Navy platforms have reduced piracy to a reasonable extent.
He said: “It is a major thing that the Nigerian Navy has achieved in this region so it is important that we work together to enhance the security of the waterways.”
In his response, the FOC Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ikioda, also applauded the ships and their crew.
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