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Nigerian Navy
Badge of the Nigerian Navy.svg
Active 1958–present
Country  Nigeria
Type Navy
Part of Ministry of Defence
Nigerian Armed Forces
Motto(s) Onward Together
Chief of Naval Staff Rear Admiral Usman O. Jibrin
Naval Ensign Naval Ensign of Nigeria.svg
Naval Ensign (1960-1998) Naval Ensign of Nigeria 1960.svg

The Nigerian Navy (NN) is a branch of the Nigerian Armed Forces. The Nigerian Navy is among the largest Navies on the African continent, consisting of several personnel, including those of the Coast Guard.

Brief History

Nigeria (orthographic projection).svg

The Nigerian Navy owes its origin to the Nigerian Marine. Formed in 1914 after the amalgamation of the then Northern and Southern protectorates of Nigeria, the Nigerian Marine as it became known after 1914 was a quasi-military organization. Its origin lay with the Lagos Marines, which was first established in 1887 by the British Colonial Government. This Force later expanded to become the Southern Nigerian Marine in 1893. A Northern Nigeria equivalent of the same name was formed in 1900. The 2 Marines were merged in 1914 after Nigeria came under a single colonial administration. The responsibility of the Marine included administration of the ports and harbours, dredging of channels, bouyage and lighting. It also operated ferry services, touring launches and other small craft that plied the various creeks and other inland waterways. The Royal Navy provided the necessary military security as part of its overall military defence of the British Empire . Though it performed mostly coast guard functions, the Nigerian Marine saw action in the First World War as part of the British military offensive against German held Cameroon. This organization remained the only maritime outfit in Nigeria until 1955 when the British colonial authorities carried out a major reorganisation of Nigeria's maritime administration in order to improve efficiency. This re-organisation led to the establishment of 3 new organizations to undertake the various functions hitherto carried out by the Marine Department.

The first of these 3 new organizations was the Nigerian Ports Authority, which was charged with the running of ports and ensuring safe navigation. The second organisation was the Inland Waterways Department, which took over the running of ferries and touring launches. The third organisation was the Nigerian Naval Force, made up mostly of reserve Royal Navy officers and ex-Service personnel who were transferred to the Nigerian Ports Authority from the defunct Nigerian Marine. These officers and men never liked the transfer and pressed the Colonial Authorities to re-constitute them as the nucleus of a future Nigerian Navy. Under pressure from them, the Nigerian Naval Force was established on 1 June 1956 as a nucleus of a future Navy. Its primary responsibility was to train the necessary manpower and set up the appropriate infrastructure that will be utilized by the planned Navy. The first basic training establishment to train manpower for the future Navy - the HMNS QUORRA was started on 1 November 1957 with 60 junior ratings who underwent a 6 month basic seamanship course.

On 1 May 1958, a colonial ordinance formally brought the Nigerian Naval Force under the Naval Disciplinary Act. This act essentially brought the officers and men of the Nigerian Naval Force under the disciplinary procedures and legal regimes applicable to the Royal Navy.

In July 1959, the Nigerian Naval Force was transformed into a full fledged Navy when Queen Elizabeth granted permission for the Force to use the title ‘Royal Nigerian Navy’. The title was changed to the ‘Nigerian Navy’ in 1963 after Nigeria became a republic. The constitutional task of the Navy was expanded in 1964 after the repeal of the 1958 Ordinance. The new law known as the Navy Act of 1964 for the first time tasked the Navy with the military responsibility of “naval defence of Nigeria.” Other tasks assigned the Navy by the 1964 Act were essentially coast guard duties namely: assisting in enforcement of Customs laws, making of hydrographic surveys and training of officers and men in naval duties.

These tasks were essentially routine functions of any Navy. Consequently, the naval leadership began to mount pressure on the political leadership to re-define the constitutional role of the Navy. In 1993, this pressure yielded the desired result and under a new law; the Armed Forces Decree 105 now known as the Armed Forces Act, was incorporated as part of the 1999 Constitution. The Navy was given expanded military and constabulary roles especially in the oil and gas sectors of the Nigerian maritime economy.[1]

Command Structure

The Naval Headquarters (NHQ)

The Naval Headquarters (NHQ) is the administrative and policy-making organ of the Nigerian Navy. At the head is the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) who exercises full command of the NN. To effect full command of the NN, the CNS has 7 staff branches in addition to the Office of the Navy Secretary. The staff branches are: Policy and Plan, Training and Operations, Administration, Naval Engineering, Logistics, Accounts & Budget, Standard and Evaluation. These branches are headed by Principal Staff Officers (PSOs) of flag rank.

Directly under the Naval Headquarters (NHQ) are 3 operational commands (Western Naval Command, Eastern Naval Command and Central Naval Command) one training and one logistics command and several autonomous units.

The Western Naval Command

The Western Naval Command HQ is located at Apapa in Lagos. It covers the sea and coastal areas from the Nigeria/Benin border at Long 002o 49’ E to Long 006o E in Delta State from the Nigerian coastline to the limit of the nation’s EEZ. The Command has the following units under its jurisdiction:

  • Headquarters Western Naval Command
  • Western Fleet at Apapa.
  • NNS BEECROFT, an operations base at Apapa.
  • Naval Air Base, Ojo, Lagos.
  • Nigerian Navy Reference Hospital,Ojo, Lagos.
  • Fleet Support Group (West) at Apapa.
  • NNS WEY, a maintenance unit at Navy Town, Ojo.
  • Forward Operating Bases (FOB) IGBOKODA and BADAGRY in Ondo and Lagos States respectively.
  • Nigerian Navy Secondary School, Abeokuta.
  • Nigerian Navy Secondary School, Ojo.

The Eastern Naval Command

The Eastern Naval Command (ENC) is the second operations command of the NN and it covers the sea area from Long 006o E in Delta State to the Nigeria/Cameroon border at Long 008o 30’ E, and from the Nigerian coastline to the limit of the nation’s EEZ. The headquarters is at Calabar. The Command has the following units under its jurisdiction:

  • NNS VICTORY, an operations base at Calabar.
  • NNS PATHFINDER, an operations base at Port Harcourt.
  • NNS JUBILEE, an operations base at Ikot Abasi.
  • Eastern Fleet at Calabar.
  • Naval Air Station, Calabar (to be constructed)
  • Forward Operating Bases(FOB) BONNY and IBAKA in Rivers and Akwa Ibom States respectively.
  • Fleet Support Group(East) at Calabar.
  • Navy Hospitals at Calabar and Port Harcourt.
  • Nigerian Navy Secondary Schools at Calabar and Port Harcourt.

Central Naval Command

The Central naval Command (CNC) is the third operations command of the NN. The headquarters is on Brass Island in Bayelsa State. Its Area of Respnsibility (AOR) stretches from Benin River entrance (Long 0050 00'E) to Santa Barbara River entrance (Long 0060 30'E) which encompases the coastal states of Bayelsa, Delta and Edo and the landward states including Kogi.

The Command has the followng units under its jurisdiction:

  • Headquarters Central Naval Command
  • NNS DELTA- an operations base in Warri, Delta State
  • NNS SOROH - an operation base in Yenagoa
  • Naval Air Station, Effurun-Warri, Delta State
  • Navy Hospital, Warri, Delta State
  • Forward Operating Bases (FOB) ESCRAVOS and FORMOSO in Delta and Bayelsa States respectively
  • NNS LUGARD an in-land operations base on the River Niger at Lokoja, Kogi State.

Naval Training Command (NAVTRAC)

The main functions of the Naval Training Command (NAVTRAC) are the coordination and harmonization of training doctrines and standards for all local training in the NN as evolved by the NHQ. The Command is headed by the FOC NAVTRAC, who is assisted by 9 PSOs namely: the CSO, the Command Technical Training Officer (CTTO), Command Logistic Training Officer (CLTO) and Command Medical Training Officer (CMTO). Others are the Command Academic Training Officer (CATO), CABO, CAO, CINTO and CPM. The units under NAVTRAC are:

  • Sea Training Unit at Victoria Island, Lagos. It is responsible for Basic Operations Sea Training, Safety Operations Sea Training, and Consolidated Operations Sea Training of all NN ships when assigned. It also conducts harbour and ship acceptance trials of vessels after major refits.
  • NNS QUORRA at Apapa, which caters for various forms of seamen professional courses for officers and ratings.
  • Nigerian Navy Engineering College (NNEC) Sapele, which caters for the technical training of all NN technical personnel.
  • The Nigerian Navy Finance and Logistic School (NNFLS) at Owerrinta.
  • Nigerian Naval College ONURA and the Nigerian Navy Basic Training School (NNBTS), which are co-located at Onne, Port Harcourt. The 2 establishments conduct basic training for officers and ratings respectively.
  • There are other professional schools, which include; the Medical Staff Training School, Offa in Kwara State, the NN School of Music at Otta and the Hydrographic School at Port Harcourt. Others are the Naval Provost and Regulating School, the Nigerian Navy Intelligence School and the Physical Training School all at Apapa, Lagos.

The Logistics Command

The Logistics Command is equally commanded by a FOC of Rear Admiral rank. The permanent HQ of the Command is at Oghara, Delta State. However, the Nigerian Navy Order establishing the Logistics Command has been released and the command has since started operation. The Order stipulates the organization and responsibilities of the Command.

The autonomous units

The autonomous units are those units, which require prudent management and high-level control that need not be duplicated or represented at the lower hierarchy. Though small in outfit, they report directly to the CNS. Prominent among the autonomous units is the Nigerian Naval Dockyard, located in Victoria Island, Lagos. Hitherto, third line maintenance was carried out either in a foreign dockyard or private ones in Nigeria, at very high cost. The Naval Dockyard in Lagos, which was commissioned on 27 August 1990, now takes care of this high level maintenance such as major overhaul of ships engines, additions and alterations, and modification of designs. The Naval Shipyard in Port Harcourt was also acquired in 1990 from Messrs Witt and Bush. Smaller ships of the NN and merchant ships are repaired there. The shipyard has built and delivered some tugboats and barges to some private organizations.

The NN Air Arm

The 101 Squadron was established in 1985, based at Navytown near Ojo and operated AgustaWestland Lynx helicopters for anti-submarine warfare and SAR operations from the Meko class frigate. For quite some time, the Squadron operates Agusta 109 Helicopters from Warri Naval Base on anti-smuggling and oil protection duties.[2]

Organization onboard NN ships

There are 4 main departments onboard NN ships. These are operations, marine engineering, weapon engineering and logistics. An officer, who is referred to as the head of department, is in charge of each department. He reports directly to the commanding officer on operational matters or through the Executive Officer (XO) on all administrative matters. The XO is the second in command on all naval ships, as well as being the head of the Operations Department in smaller ships. However, in bigger ships while the XO remains the second in command, the Principal Warfare Officer is the head of the Operations Department. In the ratings cadre, the most senior seaman rating is referred to as the Coxswain. The Coxswain is responsible for organizing the ratings for work and discipline.[3]

Special Boat Service


The Special Boat Service during a parade in Abuja

The Special Boat Service (SBS) is a special operations unit of the Nigerian Navy. It is a male only outfit and was fashioned after the Royal Navy Special Boat Service. The roles of the Special Boat Services are predominantly focused on, but not restricted to; littoral and riverine operations, including reconnaissance and surveillance; covert beach reconnaissance in advance of an amphibious assault; recovery or protection of ships and oil installations subject to hostile state or non-state action; maritime counter-terrorism; and offensive action.[4]

Nigerian Navy Fleet

Frigates / Offshore Patrol Vessels

File:NigeriaNavy NNS Thunder.jpg

NigeriaNavy NNS Thunder

Ship name and Pennant no. Class Origin Notes
NNS Aradu (F89) MEKO 360 Type H1 Frigate  Germany
NNS Thunder (F90) Hamilton class cutter/OPV United States active
NNS To be named (F91) P18N Class  China


Ship name and Pennant no. Class Origin Notes
NNS Dorina (F81) Vosper Thornycroft MK3  United Kingdom
NNS Otobo (F82) Vosper Thornycroft MK3  United Kingdom
NNS Erinomi (F83) Vosper Thornycroft MK9  United Kingdom
NNS Enymiri (F84) Vosper Thornycroft MK9  United Kingdom

Fast Attack Craft / Patrol Boats

Ship name and Pennant no. Class Origin Notes
NNS Andoni (P100) Seaward Defence Boat  Nigeria Built at the Nigerian Naval Dockyard 2012
NNS Ekpe (P178) Luerssen FPB57 Fast Patrol Boat  Germany
NNS Damisa (P179) Luerssen FPB57 Fast Patrol Boat  Germany
NNS Agu (P180) Luerssen FPB57 Fast Patrol Boat  Germany
NNS Siri (P181) Combattante IIIB Fast Attack Craft  France/ Italy
NNS Ayam (P182) Combattante IIIB Fast Attack Craft  France/ Italy
NNS Ekun (P183) Combattante IIIB Fast Attack Craft  France/ Italy
NNS Burutu (P174) Sea Eagle Fast Patrol Craft  Singapore
NNS Zaria (??) Sea Eagle Fast Patrol Craft  Singapore

Patrol Cutters

Ship name and Pennant no. Class Origin Notes
NNS Kyanwa (A 501) Class C, buoy tender United States ex USCGC Sedge (WLB-402)[5]
NNS Ologbo (A 502) Class A, buoy tender United States ex USCGC Cowslip (WLB-277).[6]
NNS Nwamba (A 503) Class C, buoy tender United States ex USCGC Firebush (WLB-393)[7]
NNS Obula (A 504) Class C, buoy tender United States ex USCGC Sassafras (WLB-401).[8]

Inshore Patrol Craft

Type In service Origin Notes
Shaldag MK2 Class Fast Patrol Boat 5[9]  Israel
Manta Class Patrol Boat 22[9]  Singapore
Defender Class Boat (RB-S) 15 United States


Ship name and Pennant no. Class Origin Notes
NNS Ohue (M371) Lerici Class Coastal minesweeper  Italy
NNS Barama (M372) Lerici Class Coastal minesweeper  Italy

Amphibious Ships

Ship name and Pennant no. Class Origin Notes
NNS Ambe (LST1312) Ro-Ro Landing Ship, Tank  Germany
NNS Ofiom (LST1313) Ro-Ro Landing Ship, Tank  Germany


Ship name and Pennant no. Class Origin Notes
NNS Lana (A 498) Bulldog class survey vessel  United Kingdom
NNS Amariya (??) ?? ?? Presidential yacht and training ship[10]
NNS Argungu (P 165) Argungu Class  Germany
NNS Yola (P 166) Argungu Class  Germany
NNS Bras (P 169) Argungu Class  Germany
NNS Epe (P 170) Argungu Class  Germany
NNS Makurdi (P 167) Makurdi Class  United Kingdom
NNS Hadejia (P 168) Makurdi Class  United Kingdom
NNS Jebba (P 171) Makurdi Class  United Kingdom
NNS Oguta (P 172) Makurdi Class  United Kingdom
NNS Ruwan Yaro (A 497) ?? ??

Naval Aviation

Aircraft Type Origin In service Notes
Agusta A109 helicopter Light utility helicopter  Italy 8
Aeronautics Aerostar Reconnaissance UAV  Israel ??
Westland Lynx Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) helicopter  United Kingdom (3) inactive


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