Thousands attend Navy weekend

2016-02-17 06:00
=Surface weapon operators, Nico Opperman and Jannie Swartz, with a 20mm MK1 gun on the SAS Drakensberg, which is the largest ship ever built in South Africa for the SA Navy. The SAS Drakensberg was one of the seven warships that were available for public viewing last weekend.         Photo: SASHIKA PILLAY

=Surface weapon operators, Nico Opperman and Jannie Swartz, with a 20mm MK1 gun on the SAS Drakensberg, which is the largest ship ever built in South Africa for the SA Navy. The SAS Drakensberg was one of the seven warships that were available for public viewing last weekend. Photo: SASHIKA PILLAY

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ARMED Forces Week has been off to a successful start as thousands of people visited the Port Elizabeth harbour during the weekend to view the Navy’s warships and submarine.

Navy Spokesman Commander Greyling van den Berg said he was overwhelmed by the positive response they received during the weekend.

“We had about 25 000 people at the harbour this weekend. We were truly overwhelmed with the positive reaction from the people of PE and we were also grateful that they decided to spend their Valentine’s Day weekend with us.

“We have not received any complaints. There were people who waited for hours to view the ships but they mentioned that it was worth the wait,” van den Berg said.

There will be fan parks held at the Kings Beach area today until this coming weekend, with a large military exhibition from 8am until 5pm daily, except on February, 21, when the exhibition closes at 3pm.

During the exhibition, the public can experience a range of military hardware, various weapon systems, radar systems, armoured vehicles and artillery guns.

The public will also be allowed to engage with South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members at these displays and climb onto and into the various display vehicles.

The night shooting event which takes place tomorrow night, February 18, is expected to be one of the highlights of Armed Forces Week.

“The night shooting will be an absolute highlight. There will be thousands of people attending and watching,” van den Berg said.

The night shooting demonstration at Kings Beach starts at 7:30pm and will last for about 40 minutes. The demonstration will end with a ball of fire detonating on Kings Beach.

“People should bring their picnic baskets and chairs and come down to the Kings Beach area or they can watch the night shooting from nearby restaurants; it will be a lovely night out and something very different for Port Elizabeth,” van den Berg said.

The main event, Armed Forces Day, which takes place on February 21, in Beach Road, will include a large military parade followed by a military capability demonstration.

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