Navy beefs up survey ship for World Cup

2010-05-24 00:00

THE South African Navy says it is ready for the World Cup tournament next month.

A senior naval officer said this while addressing the public on board the hydrographic survey ship, the SAS Protea, in Durban harbour on Saturday morning.

The Protea’s capabilities have been beefed up with the shallow water route survey system, which will be used to survey the ocean floor in the ports around the country.

The defence website reported on Monday that the R38,7 million project is a short-term solution to a perceived shortfall in the Soccer World Cup 2010 security planning.

The purpose is to search for and detect underwater explosive devices, such as sea mines, which could endanger the safety of visitor and local passenger liners.

SA Navy Flag Officer Fleet Rear Admiral Robert Higgs said this system will be put to use in the three coastal host cities (Durban, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth) to monitor any hint of a threat to the tournament.

He said the event is an historic one for South Africa and that detractors might want to use any possible access to the host areas to execute their mission.

“We are ready for them,” said Higgs.

“We are bound by the Constitution to defend South Africa, and ensuring safety and security on our coastal areas during the World Cup and beyond is part of our duty.

“We will be able to detect any threatening devices below the sea and on each spot there will be police and navy divers who will be on the ready to execute instructions,” he told the cheering guests on board the ship.

The security package includes sub-bottom profiling and side-scan sonar systems.

All the data will be sent to the Protea for immediate analysis, with appropriate reaction to the results taken.

It takes about three hours from the detection of the threat, creating visuals, measuring the position of the threat, and sending and analysing the data on board the Protea.

The reaction to the results is immediate.

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