By OKOSUN OKHUELEIGBE
In a bid to further strengthen existing ties between Nigeria and Britain, plans have been concluded for a Royal Navy Ship, HMS LANCASTER to visit Lagos this month.
Making this disclosure at the Western Naval Command during a courtesy visit to the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Rear Admiral Raphael Osondu in Lagos on Monday, the British High Commission’s Defence Attaché to Nigeria, Colonel Dominick Fletcher said the ship will be in the country for four days.
HMS LANCASTER vessel, a Frigate class (F229) ship currently in South Africa, will have both navies train on counter piracy, illegal bunkering tactics, boarding and interdiction, as well as other necessary manoeuvering that will be mutual benefit to both countries.
She would engage in a joint training with Nigerian Navy (NN) personnel considering that the British attaches enormous importance to Nigeria.
“HMS LANCASTER will arrive towards the end of the month and she will be based here in Lagos for three to four days and will be conducting training with the Nigerian Navy for the time she will be here.
“The Royal Navy has a long tradition dating back with the Nigerian Navy. Our relationships are very close and so, we will invite members of the Western Naval Command to train with the Royal Navy in a wide range of skills.
“It is basically capacity building to enable the Nigerian Navy to be more effective in dealing with prevalent challenges in Nigeria whether it is oil theft or criminality along the Nigerian coastlines,” Fletcher said.
HMS LANCASTER was commissioned on May 24, 1990, and nicknamed the Queen’s Frigate because it was sponsored by Queen Elizabeth II.
A Duke class type 23 Frigate, HMS Lancaster is a type 182 towed torpedo decoy, with anti-air, anti-ship missiles, as well as anti – submarine torpedoes.
It has a length of 133m, with 16.1m beam; its draught is 7.3m and the capacity, 4,900 tons, a range of 7,500 nautical miles and can carry 205 persons.