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By Nehi Igbinijesu.
The Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Aradu is the biggest Navy ship in Nigeria. A 125.6m long all purpose fighting ship, the Aradu evokes the sound craftsmanship of its German builder, Blohm & Voss and the prowess of Nigeria as the hegemony of West Africa. The NNS Aradu is a rare beauty of a frigate launched and commissioned on 25 January 1980 and 20 February 1982 respectively. Her beam is 15meters high and she has a speed of 30.5 knots per hour. The NNS Aradu is powered 2 Rolls-Royce TM3B gas turbine engines which give her a range of 6500nautical miles at 15knots. She is manned by 26 Officers and 169 seamen. The NNS Aradu was originally named NNS Republic and was acquired during the Shagari Administration to complement and eventually replace the NNS Nigeria (now NNS Obuma) as the Nigerian Navy frigate. Since her commission, the Aradu has been part of major naval command exercises, fleet reviews and diplomatic cruises. Her prominent roles in Operations Seadog and Odion in 1985 and 1987 as well as diplomatic cruises to Gabon, Congo, Angola and several European countries attest to her great service to Nigeria. She has had two breakdowns and major collision in 1987. The NNS Aradu participated alongside 100 ships from over 30 navies in the International Fleet Review to commemorate the second centenary of the Battle of Trafalgar in memory of Admiral Lord Nelson in August 2005. On August 3, 2007, NNS Aradu and NNS Nwamba departed Nigeria to participate in the Brazil Bi-Centenary Celebrations. In my recollections of visiting the Lagos Marina in the late 1980s, I still grasp with nostalgia the feelings that the NNS Aradu always left in my mind anytime she visited; it was a confidence that Nigeria was indeed the Giant of Africa.    

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This article was first published on 29th November 2012

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