After four days of diplomatic, marine, business and social activities, United Kingdom warship HMS Lancaster on Friday sailed away from Nigerian territory.
The Royal Navy’s state-of-the-art Type 23 Duke Frigate arrived Nigeria on Tuesday, escorted by a Nigerian Navy ship to the Lagos harbour.
Shortly after arrival, the ship’s captain, Commander Peter Laughton MBE and the UK Defence Adviser in Nigeria, Colonel Dominic Fletcher made a call on the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ralph Osondu at the command’s headquarters in Apapa Lagos.
With over 200 personnel on board, HMS Lancaster is the first UK warship to fully deploy the Royal Navy’s Wildcat helicopter and one of the first to have deployed the new ROYAL Navy PCS uniform.
While in Nigeria, the ship’s crew provided capacity building training to some Nigerian Navy personnel drawn from different navy posts. There were also high level military exercises at sea.
According to the British High Commission, the 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.
Speaking on the significance of the ship’s time in Nigeria, British High Commissioner to Nigeria, His Excellency Paul Arkwright said, “The visit of HMS Lancaster is a signal of our commitment to Nigeria and Nigeria’s military forces as they face security challenges. The UK government is firmly committed to supporting President Buhari’s government and priorities across the board, in particular when it comes to security.”
Briefing journalists during a tour of frigate, the ship 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 sea ways underpinning the country’s prosperity. The Royal Navy plays a crucial role in fostering these enduring alliances with other nations.”
On Wednesday, HMS Lancaster 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 Ralph Osondu, and representatives of Army Headquarters, the Nigerian Police and National Security and Civil Defence corps.
The visit offered the opportunity of bonding between the Royal and Nigerian Navies, and shared memories of historical ties.
The following day (Thursday) guests drawn from Nigeria’s business and political class among them ministerial nominee and spokesperson for the All Progressives Congress, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, former governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, and chairman of Honeywell Group, Oba Otudeko were on board with British High Commissioner Paul Arkwrght.
Also known as the ‘Queens Frigate,’ HMS Lancaster pulled out of Nigerian harbour at 0900 on Friday to a rousing salute from the Nigerian Navy.
Before departing Nigerian waters, it conducted a final sea exercise with crew of Nigerian Navy warship NNS Prosperity aimed at boosting maritime security around the Gulf of Guinea.

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