April 13, 2012: Late last year the U.S. donated a Hamilton class Coast Guard cutter to Nigeria. This ship was renamed NNS Thunder and entered Nigerian service this past January. In its first three months of service the Thunder travelled 27,000 kilometers, stopped and inspected 108 ships and seized two of them. However, Nigeria also found that it had not purchased enough spare parts to keep the Thunder operating at this high level of activity, and there was a shortage of trained sailors as well. The navy does not pay well enough for skilled people, at least compared to civilian firms. So the navy simply serves as a training program for civilian companies.
The 3,200 ton Hamilton class vessels are ocean going patrol ships that were built in the late 1960s. The Hamiltons have been well maintained and refurbished several times over the years. But they have been worked hard since they entered service over four decades ago. The Hamiltons are armed with a 76mm gun, two 25mm autocannon, and two Phalanx 20mm anti-missile gun systems. The ship has a top speed of 40 kilometers an hour, endurance of 45 days, and a crew of 167.