by crossriverwatch admin
A young Ogoja naval officer, Navy Captain Clement Ekpenti Atabi on Thursday morning in Calabar took the reins of THUNDER, The flag
ship of the Nigerian Navy as it sets sail to Australia to participate in the International Fleet Review scheduled for the 3rd to 11th of October 2013 in Sidney, Australia.
The ship which is expected to arrive its destination in three weeks has thirty seven officers and one hundred and forty ratings on board along with Ekpenti.
Addressing the officers and ratings before the THUNDER’s departure from the Calabar Port, the Flag Officer Commanding, FOC of the Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral Jo Aikhomu told Navy Captain Ekpenti to take charge of the ship and its men at all times.
“If others are confused, you should remain calm, love your crew and everyone on board but remember you have a duty to perform in Australia for Nigeria and the Nigerian Navy. Thank God you are a son of the soil, you people and all of us are looking up to you to deliver”.
Rear Admiral Aikhomu said the ship was on a historic trip and called on all the officers and ratings to be of good behavior so that the image of the Nigerian Navy and Nigeria would not be dragged in the mud.
He said the benefits accruable from the trip which is basically a diplomatic tour are numerous for the country, Nigerian Navy and those on the trip as it would assure the international community of the combat capability and capacity of the Nigerian Navy as well as improve the naval proficiency of those on the trip.
“It is an opportunity that you need to make maximum use of and we expect a lot from you both in your behavior and proficiency capacity so you have to take good care of the ship, clean it well, and build up your career”.
The Flag Officer Commanding the Eastern Naval Command called on the naval men and women to protect the ship and not open it to those who should not have access to it particularly bad elements in countries the ship will make stop-overs while on their way to and return from Sidney.
“In any country you stop over, do not open your ship to those who should not have access to it and you should avoid bad elements so that you will not stir up unnecessary trouble for yourselves and Nigeria”.
The ship which is expected back in the country in December will stop over in Luanda, Capetown, Port Louis, Freemantle, Hobart Tasmania before arriving Sidney and on its way back after the exercise it is expected to go through Melbourne, Albany, Port Desgalet and Durban before arriving back to Nigeria.
According to Rear Admiral Aikhomu, Nigeria and South Africa are the only two countries in Africa that are participating in the fleet review exercise which will include United States, United Kingdom and Russia.
The Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth is expected to inspect the fleet review.
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