Navy warship fires on Cape fishing boat

2015-03-27 09:27
(SA Navy)

(SA Navy)

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Cape Town - The skipper of a fishing boat has told how he and his crew panicked when they were accidentally fired upon by a warship during a naval exercise near Cape Agulhas.

The Cape Times reported on Friday that the incident happened during a joint naval exercise between the SA Navy and German navy early on Wednesday morning.

Commercial fisherman Anthony Day told the newspaper he and nine crew members set off from Struisbaai harbour at about 02:30 in his 28-foot ski boat. At the harbour he had spoken to people from a charter company who told him a radio-controlled vessel there was due to take part in an exercise.

Three shots

He headed in the opposite direction from the Denel missile testing range at De Hoop, but later saw a ship approaching. Next thing three heavy-calibre shots went off in quick succession, landing about 15 metres from them.

Day said the shots were so loud his ears rang, and he could smell gunpowder.

Although he had his navigation and anchor lights on, he immediately switched on his deck lights so they could see it was a fishing vessel. He tried to radio the ship but got no response, and then radioed Cape Town Radio telling them he'd been shot at.

Cape Town Radio apparently made contact with the ship and told him the commander had said the shots had been fired in error.

The SA Navy and German navy told the Cape Times they were unaware of the incident and would release a statement when they had established the facts.

German exercises

The German Navy Task Group arrived in South Africa at the beginning of March to participate in Exercise Good Hope VI, Defence Web reported.

The Task Group comprises the flagship Hessen and frigates Karlsruhe and Brandenburg. The exercise involved training officer cadets, harbour training, taking part in last weekend's SA Navy Festival, and sea exercises.

According to Defence Web, the tactical phase and missile firings were held from 23 to 26 March. During this phase the two navies fired their surface-to-air missile systems and shot at surface targets.

The German RIM-7 Sea Sparrow ship-borne short-range anti-aircraft and anti-missile weapon system and the RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) infrared homing surface-to-air missile were used, along with a 76 mm gun and smaller calibre weapons.

The SA Navy fired two Umkhonto vertically-launched, high-velocity, infrared homing surface-to-air missiles manufactured by Denel Dynamics, and also used a 76 mm gun and smaller weapons.

Read more on:    cape town  |  maritime

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