News24

SA navy deploys two ships

2011-01-31 10:22

Pretoria - The defence force, in conjunction with the government, has deployed two of the navy's ships in international waters over the past few weeks, amid growing political tension in West Africa and piracy in the Mozambique Channel.

These missions came after the defence force and the government were criticised over the past few months for having the ability to use new ships to assist in international matters, but preferring to keep them anchored in local harbours.

The SAS Drakensberg, the navy's resupply vessel, was deployed to West Africa about two weeks ago to provide support and especially help out should the political violence in the Ivory Coast necessitate the evacuation of the South African embassy in the country.

According to a recent article by Helmoed-Römer Heitman in Jane's Defence Weekly, the Drakensberg will stay in the area for a few weeks.

The ship is scheduled to return to South Africa at the end of February. The Drakensberg has two Oryx helicopters and probably also a contingent of the navy's rapid response forces and other specialist soldiers on board.

It appeared the ship was deployed out of fear of military intervention by the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) in the Ivory Coast.

At the same time, one of the navy's new frigates, the SAS Mendi, headed for Durban a week ago in anticipation of the signing of an agreement aimed at protecting Mozambique against piracy.

Comments
  • Andrew_W - 2011-01-31 10:33

    The SAS Mendi, as well as the other 3 frigates are not geared to counter the threat of piracy, as this is a form of non-conventional warfare. These vessels are geared for conventional warfare only. This is further enforced by the elevation restrictions on the weapons on these vessels. So, if they were fighting against other vessels of the same size or bigger, then it would work, but not against rubberducks and other small motorised boats, that depending on the weather conditions, will probably not even be detected by their RADAR.

      pointblankza - 2011-01-31 10:52

      Um Andrew, you out of date with what is happening in the piracy world. The pirates are no longer rubber-duckers or small motorized boats. They are large vessels and in an increasing number of cases full freight ships. Currently there are over 500 ships "awaiting" ransoms, some are paid others are not. If not then the ships become "Motherships" from where pirates launch their attacks. This has given them a broad area to ply their trade in and we are seeing them venture further and further out to sea.

      pointblankza - 2011-01-31 10:59

      Um Andrew, you out of date with what is happening in the piracy world. The pirates are no longer rubber-duckers or small motorized boats. They are large vessels and in an increasing number of cases full freight ships. Currently there are over 500 ships "awaiting" ransoms, some are paid others are not. If not then the ships become "Motherships" from where pirates launch their attacks. This has given them a broad area to ply their trade in and we are seeing them venture further and further out to sea.

      cwyness - 2011-01-31 12:03

      You are so wrong.The frigates are properly equiped with the super Lynx helicopter and 20mm canons on the bridge and the remote controled reutec mini guns above the hanger and the rib class rubber ducks, the same as used by all the international warships on the anti piracy patrols.so i think you should get your facts right before comenting.

      Stuart - 2011-01-31 12:25

      the alternative is no presence at all which is counter to a geopolitical strategy.

      Radrodent - 2011-01-31 12:48

      You guys also forgot to mention the more blatantly obvious and that is that the Drakensberg is not as stated "a war ship" at all. It is a naval resupply vessel. Other than this, the aging strike craft would have been a better counter piracy vessel than any of the frigates due to speed, meneauvreability, the formiddable Skerpioen missiles, numerous high calibre weapons sporting APR's, and main gun turret. These vessels together with the Drakensberg or Outeniqua would make sense to deploy in pirate infested waters.

      Darren_O - 2011-01-31 13:00

      I disagree. The SAN has done some work to ensure that its frigates are well-equipped the defend themselves against small boat threats and has equipped them accordingly. Thus each frigate is equipped with two 12.7mm SeaRogue remotely-operated stablised weapons stations, each capable of a -40 degree elevation thus allowing them to fire accurately on small boats as close as 15m to the ship, two 20mm Oerlikon gun mounts (or two SuperRogue 20mm remotely-operated stabilised gun mounts) and SS77 7.62mm machine guns mounted at strategic points along the ship's deck. Additionally, the SuperLynx helicopter aboard the frigate is equipped with a doorway-mounted 7.62mm FN-MAG and looks set to be equipped with the Mokopa multi-purpose missile in future. This is all in addition to the 76mm Oto Breda main cannon, Exocet anti-ship missiles and the Umkhonto surface-to-air missiles (which have been tested successfully in a secondary surface-to-surface role) that the frigates are equipped with. As for detection, the ships' radar is quite effective at distinguishing small boat targets from background clutter and is supplemented by onboard optronics trackers and the long-range cameras and thermal imagers attached to the Rogue platforms. In sum, the SAN's frigates are quite well-equipped for the anti-piracy mission.

      jason.de.villiers - 2011-01-31 14:52

      The scientific defence community is working on the non-conventional/piracy/assymetric warfare threats to our naval vessels. Check it out: http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/csir-developing-new-eyes-for-sa-navy-2010-09-01 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqcDlHP0asE

      Worldwise - 2011-01-31 17:07

      @Radrodent. The frigates are actually faster than the strike craft. They are capable of a SUSTAINED speed over 30 knots in a sea state 6, due to CODAG (Combined Diesel And Gas) propulsion and active fin stabilisers. They have a gas turbine connected to the biggest waterjet in the world delivering more than 35 000 litres of water a second. The strike craft could only attain 30 knots in less than sea state 3. The frigates will easily outrun a rubber duck. A strike craft would break up at these speeds in a sea state 4 or above and would be a vomit comet due to not being stabilised. The frigates are extremely manouvrable with small turning circles at high speed. The Skerpioen missiles are outdated. They were actually used as targets for the frigates Umkhonto missiles during execises instead of expensive target drones. The main gun turret of the strike craft is the same as for the frigate, a 76mm Oto Melara rapid fire gun. The difference is that on the frigate it is radar, electro-optically and laser guided with a far more sensitive ring laser gyro stabilising system. The Outeniqua was falling to bits as the Soviets built these vessels to last 10 years. Everything from the fresh water systems to the sewage systems were made of unprotected mild steel in a corrosive marine environment. Her electronic parts were also difficult to get after the Soviets embraced western electronics. She was not going anywhere and was sold.

  • whitespear@24.com - 2011-01-31 10:37

    How long before they join in the piracy?

      ArtGee - 2011-01-31 11:07

      Waiting to read the headlines: "SA WARSHIP HIJACKED BY SOMALI PIRATES" Cannot say they were not warned in advance!

      Eric West - 2011-01-31 11:41

      Hehehe ... good one!

      IandI - 2011-01-31 12:15

      Apparently highjacking ships is very profitable(million dollars ransom). Methinks our boys will want in on the deal.. you know just, like our metro cops,make a little "cooldrink money" on the side :-)

      Henk - 2011-06-14 21:41

      ArtGee:Listen buddy you don't know SHIT that is going on in the SANDF do you????????????all of you guys thinks that our Defense force are weak,well all of you are wrong,I'am a teenager and I know more about our Defense force then you do,You all think that SA can't do anything,hahahahahaha i'll be standing there and laugh my ass off when the bullets starts flying and you civvies starting to rely on us to defend you

  • hawksnr - 2011-01-31 10:40

    Trust they know how to operate all the gear on board!!

      ArtGee - 2011-01-31 11:10

      How long before they BREAK that one too?

  • daniellebeder - 2011-01-31 10:50

    Was in Simonstown recently. Seemed everyone knocked off work at 15h55. They won't be able to do that now will they.

      Craig - 2011-01-31 14:43

      Why not, union rules.

      riaanuys - 2011-02-22 20:40

      But they start work at 0730.What time do you start?

  • pointblankza - 2011-01-31 10:54

    Um Andrew, you out of date with what is happening in the piracy world. The pirates are no longer rubber-duckers or small motorized boats. They are large vessels and in an increasing number of cases full freight ships. Currently there are over 500 ships "awaiting" ransoms, some are paid others are not. If not then the ships become "Motherships" from where pirates launch their attacks. This has given them a broad area to ply their trade in and we are seeing them venture further and further out to sea.

      ArtGee - 2011-01-31 11:10

      Want to post it ONE more time?

      pointblankza - 2011-01-31 11:59

      Hey I did, wag your finger at News24.

  • pointblankza - 2011-01-31 10:55

    Um Andrew, you out of date with what is happening in the piracy world. The pirates are no longer rubber-duckers or small motorized boats. They are large vessels and in an increasing number of cases full freight ships. Currently there are over 500 ships "awaiting" ransoms, some are paid others are not. If not then the ships become "Motherships" from where pirates launch their attacks. This has given them a broad area to ply their trade in and we are seeing them venture further and further out to sea.

  • AndrewM39@24.com - 2011-01-31 10:55

    Again the most modern country, and in all likelyhood with the best equipped Navy, south of the Sahara is re-active instead of being pro-active in the fight against piracy. Why did we spend all that money on the "Arms Deal" if we are not prepared to deploy our Navy. Shame on you SANDF.

      Darren_O - 2011-01-31 13:07

      The decision was ont the SANDF's to make, as only the Cabinet can decide when and where to deploy the SANDF. Over the past couple of years the SAN has indicated its desire to join the anti-piracy patrols on a number of occasions, but for various (mostly political) reasons the President and his cabinet have chosen to delay that decision.

      Will2.0 - 2011-01-31 13:21

      Uhm...but we are deploying the Navy now.

      Other Justin - 2011-01-31 16:21

      What do you expect with a poophol like lindiwe sisulu at the helm?

  • pointblankza - 2011-01-31 10:58

    Um Andrew, you out of date with what is happening in the piracy world. The pirates are no longer rubber-duckers or small motorized boats. They are large vessels and in an increasing number of cases full freight ships. Currently there are over 500 ships "awaiting" ransoms, some are paid others are not. If not then the ships become "Motherships" from where pirates launch their attacks. This has given them a broad area to ply their trade in and we are seeing them venture further and further out to sea.

  • pop101 - 2011-01-31 11:00

    "signing of an agreement aimed at protecting Mozambique against piracy" Can we afford this?

  • Ben - 2011-01-31 11:01

    Pirate will probably take the ship from our navy...

  • roadvark - 2011-01-31 11:08

    hahaha, hope the pirates don't get them.

  • TheWasp - 2011-01-31 11:17

    Give it a week at sea and there will be strikes on the ship.. Our current defence force is a joke, you have Officers who had rank handed to them, with zero skills - it's actually very scary to think SA are sending ships out with unskilled soldiers

  • The_Truth - 2011-01-31 11:19

    Well, another write off of military equipment. Pirates will take these guys to the cleaners

  • molefeP - 2011-01-31 11:26

    Ok, so when the Navy deploys ships, you complain. When they don't deploy ships, you complain? What exactly do you want? Everybody accepts that the level of technical skills in the Defence Force has declined. But understand, that as with any other Armed Forces in the world, the only way to train new staff in "Hands On".

      Deon - 2011-01-31 12:52

      I am not of the complaining sort, but several valid points are raised - since we do not do much(if any) operational deployments that take the sailors away from the comforts of home for longer than it takes to develope a mild case of "itchyness", how are they going to cope with being stuck on board for such long periods? No shore leave, shared bunks, little privacy....it is something that the old sailors will know well, the new ones have not got a clue. Hope there is enough crew left over to bring the ships back after their stay!

      Other Justin - 2011-01-31 16:25

      Ya, I agree with you Molefe, the problem I have is, I hope that if the chips are down, they are sufficiently trained to handle the situation. We need to replace Lindiwe Sisulu with a competent "army" man/woman.

  • Thandi - 2011-01-31 11:35

    Why not send a submarine - oops I forgot, don't know how to drive them.

      Templar - 2011-01-31 13:32

      is that drive them...or dive them...lol

  • callan - 2011-01-31 11:40

    If I remember correctly, that pompous turkey heading our Defence ministry, "Princess" Sisulu, last week ridiculed BBC reports that the SAS Drakensberg had been despatched to Ivory Coast waters....??!! Maybe someone forgot to tell her what "her" Navy was up to?! Talk about finger on the pulse...not!

      suspiciousme - 2011-01-31 11:48

      The Defense Farce!! Princess Sisulu - I like that. Silly woman probably thought she had to keep it a secret - like she does with the state of the Defense Farce and everythng else in her department

  • DeonL - 2011-01-31 11:45

    Be carefull not to lose a ship or 2 to the pirates! The US should bomb the pirates if they can be found.

      David - 2011-02-03 16:02

      US would probably bomb their own ships. They have dropped bombs in the wrong place before today.

  • Len - 2011-01-31 11:47

    As long as the pirates dont take our ships hostage.

  • William - 2011-01-31 11:53

    Very interesting Andrew. I know nothing of naval warfare/tactics but would the subs not then be more effective?(not for evacuations but piracy) What would be the correct approach?

  • garyburns000 - 2011-01-31 12:03

    How about signing an agreement with South African citezens to protect us from crime!!!!!!!!!!

  • tiger71 - 2011-01-31 12:25

    Correct me if im wrong but the last time there were joint NATO naval exercises involving the SA Navy bout +- 18 months ago. The SA Navy submarine sunk the entire NATO fleet TWICE! just saying..

      molefeP - 2011-01-31 12:39

      I would love to see some more info on this.

      tiger71 - 2011-01-31 13:09

      correction it was in Sept 2007 http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htsub/articles/20070912.aspx?comments=Y

      Worldwise - 2011-01-31 16:47

      Correct Tiger, one SA sub took out the entire NATO task force. Heres another website: http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htsub/articles/20070912.aspx?comments=Y Have a look at the photos of the fleet lower down in the forum.

  • Spade - 2011-01-31 12:29

    It is very irresponsible of News24 to release this information. Now every pirate is launching his boat in search of these vessels! Imagine the shame of having to pay a ransom for the release of our warships!

  • mudrat - 2011-01-31 12:44

    Give credit where credit is due, the Americans would have had a aircraft carrier there by now.

      Wendy - 2011-02-01 08:30

      F... the Americans, can never keep their nose out of other people business, unless there is OIL you won't see the bloody cowards

  • William - 2011-01-31 12:46

    This is such an interesting topic. Just a pity the SA Navy site is waaay out of date and that most of the images available just wont load.

  • Watookal - 2011-01-31 12:54

    The pirates will hijack them

  • Watookal - 2011-01-31 12:55

    The pirates will hijack them.

      T - 2011-02-11 08:26

      Watch your mouth! my husband's on that ship and so are many other spouses and relatives. We pray for their safety and you go wishing bad luck on them.

  • BigMoose - 2011-01-31 12:56

    That's 50% of our navy away. Let's hope the penguins at Boulders Beach aren't armed and dangerous.

  • Parko - 2011-01-31 12:59

    Perhaps we should invade Somalia ( to bring peace to region ) - A war could unite our people.

      Will2.0 - 2011-01-31 13:35

      This is such an absurd idea it might just work. Though Somalia might be too armed and too dangerous! We need a softer target - Zim maybe?

      tyron007 - 2011-01-31 14:21

      naa Zim will also beat us :)

  • johanvanzyl84 - 2011-01-31 13:04

    Reminds me of a few years ago when landlocked swaziland lost their ship... http://www.policemag.com/Channel/Patrol/Articles/2002/10/It-s-a-Jungle-Out-There.aspx Maybe the piracy started then already?

      Wendy - 2011-02-01 08:31

      LOL

  • coolwaynie - 2011-01-31 15:46

    Does it matter that none of the crew are trained or can swim?

      Fransie - 2011-05-10 11:36

      During their basic training in Saldanha they were all trained to SWIM! Sorry I can not be too outspoken, (havnt been there myself) but my son is one of the crew members on a Frigat.

  • T - 2011-01-31 15:53

    FYI the captain and crew is very well qualified, and sadly the captain was NOT "given" his qualifications....please don't make your own assumptions if you don't have first hand knowledge about what's happening on the ship. It's easy to mock the situation if YOUR spouse is not on the ship. FYI the crew IS trained and CAN swim... Sad how very few of SA's citizens have faith in our "men serving our country" but should the navy have open days the whole world has wonderful things to say...Navy festival here we come... The families of those onboard are patiently awaiting your safe return!! VASBYT!!

      coolwaynie - 2011-01-31 17:52

      I feel much better now. Viva e'Navy viva! Bloop bloop bloop...that's the sound of the Somalis sinking the ship because someone forgot to bring ammo..

      David - 2011-02-03 16:11

      I agree. But don't we just love 'knocking' our own -- be it the Boks, the Proteas, Bafana, the Defence Force. Sure, there are many things wrong in many places in SA -- but there is also a lot good. So why not look for it, and introduce a little fairness and consideration before condemning everything out of hand.

      Fransie - 2011-05-10 11:31

      Well said, T! Also waiting for my Member(son) to get home safely.

  • Rodney Adams - 2011-02-22 15:16

    Welldone South Afric that part of the world makes it seem as if piracy are legal...dilly if we all know who's commiting these crimes remove them from society. bring back the death penalty except put it on piracy and terrorism... for it clear these people will kill at any range and probably will kill themselfs ... so I think this is the best way in governments to implement it as soon as possible ... dnt u think someone will think twice when hijacking.... people they are playing with our lives "Cowards.

  • mmoledis - 2012-11-12 22:04

    Well done South African government and SANDF at large, Africa is not only for cerain African countries so all African countries should participate in all peace and economic programs ofr Africa in order to get Africa be in an ever lasting peace and protecting its people, properties and economies. Sending those ships for operation is good because this is an African problem and if can be out of hand then will affect all African states including South Africa, so protecting African oceans and seas is good for the sake of peace protection. Let those ships patrol African seas and oceans rotating like what is happening in DRC under UN where soldiers rotate for operations there. Viva viva SANDF protect us, you are the pride of the lions and show the world that Africa is capable.

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