Navy ves­sels re­turn from 3-week pa­trol

Cape Times - - NEWS - Staff Writer

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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