BRITAIN DEPLOYS BIGGEST WARSHIP FOR NIGERIA @ 50
The British government has deployed one of the biggest combat vessels in its inventory to Nigeria for the 50th Independence anniversary celebration of the country.
Identified as the HMS Ocean, the vessel according officials from the Nigerian Navy will participate in the Presidential Fleet Review which will be conducted by President Goodluck Jonathan.
HMS Ocean is an Amphibious assault ship (or Landing Platform Helicopter) (or Helicopter carrier), the sole member of her class. Daily Sun learnt she is designed to support amphibious landing operations and to support the staff of Commander United Kingdom Amphibious and Landing Force. She is currently the largest ship in the Royal Navy.
It was gathered that the vessel was constructed in the mid 1990s by Kvaerner Govan Ltd on the Clyde and fitted out by VSEL at Barrow-in-Furness prior to first of class trials and subsequent acceptance in service. She was commissioned in September 1998 at her home port Devonport, Plymouth, Devon.
HMS Ocean returned from her 27,000 mile (43,500 km) TAURUS 09 deployment to the Far East on 3 August 2009. She is currently involved in Exercise Auriga 2010 in North Atlantic and Eastern seaboard of the United States.
Apart from Britain who will also be sending a very senior person from the royal family to represent the Queen, it was gathered that France and Italy have also signified interest to deployed its warship to participate in the fleet review.
Although the capacity of the vessel they are deploying have not been stated, the Nigerian naval base in Apapa have been wearing new look for the visitors, as troops of the Western Naval Command and Naval Training Command have been rehearsing parade techniques for the past one month. It was gathered that the Nigerian Navy flagship, the NNS Aradu will lead 14 other ships in the force's inventory for the fleet review.
The United States it was gathered will be sending a maritime patrol aircraft that will participate in aerial display that will involve aircraft from the HMS Ocean and the Nigerian Navy Helicopters.