Navy chief warns of pirates

2011-10-27 22:13

Cape Town - African nations need to pool efforts to fight maritime security threats and to prevent pirates from other parts of the continent from heading south, South Africa's navy chief said on Thursday.

"The requirement for all stakeholders within our maritime zones to work together is fundamental," Vice Admiral Johannes Mudimu told a conference on African coastal security.

"Without high-level political commitment and resource allocation as well as intervention within the economic, social and security domains, little will be achieved," he added.

Southern African countries recently adopted a maritime safety strategy that "came about because of the real threat" of piracy emerging in southern waters, he told AFP.

South Africa sent anti-piracy patrols off of neighbouring Mozambique after a ship was attacked in December 2010.

"We constantly have the presence in the Mozambican channel," said Mudimu.


"We have with our presence there managed to repel this piracy perhaps to other areas where they serve as a safe haven for them for survive."

A threat of pirates, who have largely focused on the east coast and Gulf of Aden with a surge in west Africa, moving into South African waters and its busy shipping routes cannot be ruled out, he said.

"That's why what's important with us is that we have the ships at sea and our ships must be able to patrol the territorial waters," he said. "Because if you are not there at sea, somebody will occupy that space."

"If you weaken Mozambique, you weaken South Africa. If you weaken Angola, South Africa gets weaker and vice-versa," said Mudimu.

"So that's why I think we have a very strong region that shares a lot of commonality and the common strategy in terms of what it is that needs to be done to fight the menace that we are beginning to see in our waters."

The International Maritime Bureau said recently that piracy has reached record levels with 352 attacks reported worldwide so far this year.

  • Angela - 2011-10-28 04:49

    Good to see that the Vice Admiral has some forethought. Maybe we can use the ships and submarines that were bought at an exhorbitant cost to the tax payer and are sitting in the dry dock

  • Zulu - 2011-10-28 07:24

    The SAN has always been ahead in their thinking, as compared to the other 3 arms of service, and yes the SAN has a significant role to play in combating piracy, especially in and around Southern Africa and in support of other countries. But do not forget that his statements also have a political agenda. Questions will again be asked on why the expenditure on arms aquisition, so his timing from a political perspective is also interesting. The SANDF still has a significant international role to play....just hope that we can.

      Leon - 2011-10-28 08:43

      The Navy has more admirals than ships at sea and has submarines that stay on the surface when not in dry docks. And don't forget a non-seafaring chief as well!

  • Guy - 2011-10-28 07:27

    Can this dude even swim? Wouldnt it be a hoot if the pirates took one of our frigates........

      Zulu - 2011-10-28 07:54

      Hi Guy, clearly you have a constructive opinion to add! Thank you for sharing it.

  • Felix - 2011-10-28 09:58

    Agreed and congrats news24 for your Nandos sponsorship, now I'm hungry.

  • Marius - 2011-10-28 10:12

    Keep up the good work SAN, people with destructive comments are ignorant and don't know what you guys are doing. Most of what the SAN do at sea is classified and there is no reason to report any of it. It is not a publicity stunt but people are putting their lives in danger on a daily basis so that we can lead a normal and safe life! Think again before passing destructive comments. We are proud of the South African Navy, it's heritage and will always be! Thanks again to one and all in the SAN!!

  • Cheryl - 2011-10-28 13:09

    send 'militant' malema and all his followers in a big rocket after the pirates ....

  • Spurks Jack - 2013-08-30 14:54

    "Keep up the good work i love it.

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