Nigerian Navy

Nigerian Navy clears air in ‘Thunder’ warship condition

The attention of the Nigerian Navy (NN) has been drawn to a derogatory video circulating on social media platforms emanating from an unidentified crew member of a service vessel, Motor Vessel (MV) PACESETTER, claiming that the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS THUNDER) was under distress and MV PACESETTER was dispatched to rescue NNS THUNDER and possibly evacuate the NNS THUNDER crew or tow the ship.

In the video, the MV PACESETTER crew member lamented why a Nigerian Navy warship should be in such a dire and defenseless situation at sea, calling on Nigerians to vote for a presidential candidate in particular, otherwise the country will go down like NNS THUNDER.

Ordinarily, such a naughty video would have been ignored because it is clearly from an unpatriotic, clueless and unprofessional sailor. But considering that such video can be exploited for negative political gain in this election period, NN wishes to set the record straight for the benefit of all Nigerians.

On 28 January 2023, NNS THUNDER was at sea for exercise OBANGAME EXPRESS 2023 when it was reported experiencing water ingress from a screw in the ship’s rudder some 30 nm off the coast of Escravos. The Ship used its submersible pumps and its crew to pump out the water. However, after several efforts, the ship sent out a distress call to NNS DELTA, Warri Naval Base and other ships in the vicinity for assistance. Consequently, NNS DELTA, Forward Operating Base (FOB) Escravos, which are nearby NN units, as well as Motor Tanker (MT) UGO and MV PACESETTER contacted NNS THUNDER to provide the necessary assistance. The situation is currently under control as the commanding officer of NNS THUNDER has confirmed that the ingress of water has been contained and the ship is heading to Lagos as initially planned.

It is pertinent to note that ships could experience danger at sea due to factors beyond human control, even after all necessary precautions have been taken to avoid it. Recently, a warship sank in the Gulf of Thailand due to adverse weather conditions. Also, in 2021, a new aircraft carrier in Europe experienced ingress of water twice in 5 months of the year with the engine room flooded up to 3 feet, so help was sought from well meaning seafarers.

Similarly, the Nigerian maritime environment has witnessed many incidents of vessels in distress where seafarers were called for help and, in some circumstances, the NN intervened to save the vessels and their crews. Most recently, in July 2022, NNS OKPABANA salvaged an oil tanker in distress, MV NUE SWIFT off the Bonny Fairway Buoy, the vessel had lost its means of propulsion on the Agbara Platform while transiting from Forcados to Bonny. Obviously, incidents and emergencies take place at sea. It is for this reason, among others, that Article 98 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982) on the “Obligation to render assistance” at sea was promulgated as an obligation for all seafarers at the international level. . The state of the NNS THUNDER is not the one claimed by the crew of the MV PACESETTER because while the video was being recorded, the Ship that was in the background did not sink. Thus, the NN considers that the action of said crew member of the MV PACESETTER is malicious, in bad taste, unpatriotic and highly undesirable for being capable of putting the families of the ship’s crew members in a state of capsizing.

Therefore, NN would like to call on the general public to get rid of the video in its entirety. The public is also advised to desist from engaging the NN in any form of politicking now and even beyond this election season, as the NN remains apolitical and will not tolerate such careless shenanigans by individuals or groups. The Navy will focus on its legal responsibility to safeguard the nation’s maritime environment against all forms of crime so that maritime commerce and crucial offshore economic activities prosper smoothly.

We kindly ask you to disseminate this information to the general public.


Chief Information Officer

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