Royal Navy warship arrives in Nigeria to boost armed forces’ morale
THE United Kingdom yesterday re-iterated its commitment to assisting Nigeria defeat the dreaded Boko Haram sect, whose activities have claimed thousands of lives, and rendered many more Nigerians homeless in several internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps across the country.
The British High Commission, which disclosed last night that one of the country’s Royal Navy ships — HMS Lancaster — arrived Nigeria, on Tuesday, said Britain was more than ever prepared to assist Nigeria defeat Boko Haram. The Guardian learnt that shortly after the state-of-the-art Type 23 Duke Frigate arrived the country on Tuesday, the ship’s captain and the UK’s Defence Adviser in Nigeria, Colonel Dominic Fletcher, and his colleagues made a call on the Western Naval Command Apapa, and were received by its Flag Officer Commanding, Rear Admiral Ralph Osondu.
A subsequent statement issued by the British High Commission stressed that HMS Lancaster’s visit “shows continuing UK commitment to Nigeria, and to supporting Nigerian military as they deal with security threats at land and at sea.
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul T Arkwright, was quoted as saying that “The visit of HMS Lancaster is a signal of our commitment to Nigeria and Nigeria’s military forces as they face security challenges.
“The U.K. government is firmly committed to supporting President Buhari’s government and prioritizes across the board, in particular when it comes to scarcity.”
Since the frigate, the first to fully deploy the Royal Navy’s Wildcat helicopt, berthed in Lagos, a number of trainings and exercises have taken place between the Royal Navy and Nigerian Navy.
Yesterday, the ship played host to Nigeria’s security top brass among them a representative of the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral OC Medani, the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command Rear Admiral Osondu, representatives of the Army Headquarters, the Nigerian Police and National Security and Civil Defence corps.
Briefing journalists on board yesterday, the ship’s Captain commander Peter Laughton MBE said “HMS Lancaster is currently conducting an Atlantic Patrol Task to provide ongoing protection and reassurance to British regional interests and is maintaining the continuous Royal Naval Presence in the Atlantic. During such tasks Royal Navy ships call at ports to interact with Navies of our partners, foster relationships and to improve maritime security”
As the fifth largest economy in the world, the UK has responsibilities towards it allies. But Britain also has global ambitions, namely to protect the seaways underpinning the country’s prosperity. The Royal Navy plays a crucial role in fostering these enduring alliance with other nations”
The ship departs Nigerian waters on Friday after a final scheduled exercise with the Nigerian Navy.
HMS LANCASTER was built on the Clyde by Yarrow Shipbuilders and was launched by Her Majesty The Queen, on May 24, 1990. She was commissioned into the Royal Navy on May 1, 1992.
The close affiliation to Her Majesty continues, earning LANCASTER the nickname “The Queen’s Frigate”. She is the sixth Royal Navy ship to bear the name. The previous LANCASTER had been launched for the US Navy in 1918 as a 1,100 tonne destroyer named USS PHILIP. In 1940 she was transferred to the Royal Navy and gained battle honours for Atlantic and Arctic Convoys, plus North Sea patrols.
HMS LANCASTER sailed from Portsmouth for her nine-month Atlantic Patrol Tasking (South) deployment on the 21st March 2015. During the deployment, HMS LANCASTER has sail in excess of 22,000 nautical miles, made over 12 port visits, and travelled to 4 continents with highlights including the Panama Canal transit and Fleet Week in New Orleans.
The ship has been given the honour to be the first ship to deploy in the Royal Navy’s new uniform. The new uniform brings to an end 70 years of the old-style light blue shirt and dark blue trousers. The Ship’s Company have really taken to the new uniform: it’s more comfortable, looks smarter, and provides sailors with more protection. The additional pockets also make life easier when carrying the necessary tools.
In another first HMS LANCASTER is the first ship to deploy with the Royal Navy’s newest helicopter, the Wildcat. Replacing the Lynx helicopter, the Wildcat has many improvements, making it a significantly more capable aircraft. It has a redesigned tail rotor system improving the strength and stealth of the aircraft whilst the aircrew benefit from the improved state-of-the-art cockpit with high tech communications, crash worthy-armoured seats and full 360-degree colour surveillance radar. The Wildcat, like its predecessor can be used in a variety of roles including anti-ship and anti-submarine protection, casualty evacuation, battlefield reconnaissance and as a general utility helicopter.
The Royal Navy maintains a permanent presence in the South Atlantic and West Africa to provide ongoing protection and reassurance, conduct Defence engagement, and conduct maritime security patrols. The commitment consists of two warships; either a destroyer or frigate accompanied by a Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel.
The UK has a responsibility to its citizens and its allies to endeavor to safeguard the high seas. This is why the Royal Navy protects home and international waters – making sure the global trade that Britain and the world depend on can proceed without a hitch.
As the fifth largest economy in the world, the UK has responsibilities towards its allies and partners. The Royal Navy plays a crucial role in fostering these enduring and lasting alliances with other nations.