Navy vessels return from 3-week patrol
TWO SA Navy vessels have returned to Naval Base Durban after completing a patrol of the Northern Mozambican Channel to support the Mozambican Defence Force in countering piracy.
This was the first time in many years that the SA Navy has deployed two ships to an operation.
The two vessels are the SAS Protea and SAS Galeshewe.
Operation Copper started on January 21, 2011, with the mandate of the SA Navy to increase measures aimed against drug, arms and human trafficking, as well as illegal fishing.
Both vessels had members of the Mozambican Defence Force on board for the duration of the patrols.
The SAS Protea departed Simon’s Town harbour on July 3 for Durban, arriving on July 8, and proceeded to pick up stores and fuel.
After conducting a range of preparatory exercises, the two vessels departed together from Durban on July 16 and sailed the more than 3 000km to Pemba, in Northern Mozambique.
During the operation, SAS Galeshewe would sail close to the coastline and SAS Protea farther out, which allowed the two ships to cover more territory than a single vessel could on its own.
The SA Navy said the two ships operated independently of foreign support and did not enter any harbour during the three-week deployment, a unique feature of the deployment, and used Pemba Bay as a base from which to conduct their patrols.
SAS Protea served as the operational support vessel for SAS Galeshewe, supplying the vessel with fuel, stores and fresh water.
Several replenishment- at-sea operations were successfully completed by the two navy vessels during the operation.
While no arrests were made, the operation had sent a stern warning to any criminal element that the SA Navy was ready to protect its territorial waters, as well as those of its neighbours, said the SA Navy.
The SAS Protea will remain in Durban for a few days to demobilise and complete any outstanding administration regarding the operation.
It is expected to arrive in Simon’s Town in the middle of August.
SAS Protea, above, and SAS Galeshewe, returned to Naval Base in Durban after completing a patrol of the Northern Mozambican Channel to support the Mozambican Defence Force in countering piracy.
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