Piracy: Foreign units may enter SA seas

2012-04-11 19:17

Cape Town - Foreign security services could be allowed into South Africa to protect merchant vessels against piracy, Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said on Wednesday.

"This has been raised with us by a number of European countries. We are grappling with this development," she said after opening the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium in Cape Town.

"On vessels where there has been armed security, there have not been any attempts to hijack the craft."

She said navy chiefs in the region would have to debate on the ethics, viability and desirability of having armed units in local waters to guard against piracy.

If agreed to, the country would be required to allow guards on land for their replenishment. She said this would require a "drastic re-structuring" of legislation.

Threat of piracy

Local vessels would continue to be monitored by the navy.

"There is no security [force] on any South African ships. We, the navy, protect these ships."

Sisulu declined to say which European countries had approached her, for "ethical" reasons.

The SA Navy warned last month that the threat of piracy was moving south towards South Africa.

A total of 1 016 people were taken hostage in the Indian Ocean around Africa in 2010. Comparatively, only 165 people were held hostage in other parts of the world in the same period.

The figures dropped in 2011, breaking a four-year high, with 802 crew members taken hostage worldwide.

The International Maritime Bureau's 2011 global piracy report credited the combined efforts by regional navies for the difference in figures.

According to its piracy reporting centre, the closest attack to South Africa this year was off Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, where 10 pirates attempted to board a chemical tanker.

Under "Operation Copper", Mozambique, Tanzania and South Africa have been working together to secure the Mozambique channel.

  • Piet - 2012-04-11 19:31

    Because our navy is not capable anymore!

      Dave - 2012-04-11 20:29

      You are misled.For the past two years the navy has been sending vessels to the mozambique channel to help in da patrol.Even now theres a vessel there.

      Piet - 2012-04-11 20:30

      One rubber duck?

      Dave - 2012-04-11 20:54

      @Piet try to google SAS Drakensberg and maybe u'll be to understand what type of a vessel im talking about.U musnt let ur prejudice cloud ur thinking.

      Boer - 2012-04-11 21:33

      What Navy 2 ships Please.???

      En - 2012-04-11 22:00

      Fact is most South Africans are clueless about what is going on. For over a year now the navy has been sending all four of the frigates on patrol in Mozambique waters, on rotation. Even our submarines have been sent from time to time. Air force helicopters, special forces, maritime units the whole lot have been deployed to Moz waters, and are still there. Fighter jets have even taken off from 2 Squadron in Limpopo 2 perform surveillance operations over Indian Ocean waters. So a heck of a lot is going on. Sad thing is that people only get their info from places like News24, so you are bound 2 have the wrong info or no info at all from the get-go. Sisulu isn't saying we need help per say, she's just echoing a common problem faced by all navies...i.e battleships/submarines aren't really designed to perform such operations, so do we give private security firms who are better equiped (in some cases) to fight modern day piracy more power. Simple as that. But people want to act like she has zero clue what she's on about. Shame.

      Eduannn - 2012-04-12 00:45

      geez, before anyone posts any more negative comments - do none of you read or understand this issue. This is how it works - INTERNATIONAL (worldwide) maritime law allows no MERCHANT ship to carry armed personel on board anywhere in the world. What the Europeans probably want to do is to put armed forces aboard their merchant vessels (no mention was made of navy/war ships of other countries) before they leave port and sail up or down the east coast of Africa in order to protect their ships from pirates (something I thought should have been done long ago). In other words a paid group of professional armed forces on a cargo vessel. But this is not allowed in maritime law and rightly so. Now all these merchant ships will at some stage have to enter our local waters and dock in Cape Town or Durban with a group of armed forces from another country on board - would you allow it? It is against maritime law and that is the problem. Our own ships in our own waters are protected by the SA Navy. And that is all the News24 report says - as simple as that.

      adam - 2012-04-12 06:56

      Are our expensive vessels still running, have they been serviced,do we still have people who can operate them, do we still have fuel for them???? I think they use Nokia navigation, when they get coverage.

      Newsmonger - 2012-04-12 08:52

      ahh yes the comment of the day..."one rubber duck" lol, probably loaded to capacity with a taxi driver at the helm with the occupants not being able to swim all strapped with shower heads.

      darren.raath.5 - 2012-11-08 20:25

      at en.gineer. are the subs repaired??? last i heard one got donnered onto the sea floor and another was lying in the dry docks waiting for spare parts???????????????????????

  • braamc - 2012-04-11 19:40

    Billions spend and stolen and we can't do it ourselves.

  • Gieljam - 2012-04-11 19:51

    What a crying shame On the one hand we are constantly assured "we" have the capacity to protect ourselves and on the other hand we need "foreign" support .Why were billions spent on maritime vesels in the first place ?

      En - 2012-04-11 22:33

      Get other sources other than this website and you'll realise you just asked a very dumb question. Those maritime vessels are being used. Each of those new frigates bought have each spent over 200 days at sea last year, which is ABOVE the initial estimate. South African submarines have spotted north of Durban, heading for Mozambiquean waters time and time again. What they mean by \foreign\ support is an old standing naval rule/law that prohibits foreign vessels from docking in SA harbours if they happen 2 be armed. All navies from U.S.A, France to SA realise that you need these \smaller\ guys who have the potential to arm themselves to act as deterrents on a small scale level, but maritime law has slowed down the process quite a bit. You can't really fight pirates with anti ship missiles....not efficient

      adam - 2012-04-12 06:59

      I think the government uses them for booze- cruises now and then, when the crew are not on strike, and fuel is available. Better let foreign navies baby sit us.

      darren.raath.5 - 2012-11-08 20:28

      if the subs are operational,is it one two??are they gonna be donnered into the sea floor anytime soon?????are the spare parts gonna be ordered by someone that knows what they are doing???whats the scoop hey????

  • Hermann - 2012-04-11 19:54

    Foreign assistance to intercept a pirate skiff!! We are becoming the laughing stock of the civilised world.

      Herman - 2012-04-11 20:29

      Not becoming, we are.

  • Desdimona Eslene Kortjie - 2012-04-11 20:17

    piet if you dnt knw wots happenin out there and da capabilty of the pirates and yes billions wer spend but r u guys forgetting its south africa and not america we do need assistance wth the whole piracy issue so stop moanin and sit back and think wot we up against bfore u blame the navy

      Piet - 2012-04-11 20:36

      25 years ago, our little subs out did the American navy in a mock excercise. Those strategies are now employed by them. The SADF was rated as one of the best and well diciplined fighting forces in the world. The SANDF could not control an uprising in Lesotho. I belive it is so bad that copper part gets stolen from the Ratels in camp. We better hope Zim never decides to invade us by using force.....

      Mike - 2012-04-12 08:25

      Piet, in the same regard, when the cheetah fighter Jet was released it was taken to the USA with SA pilots to do mock dog fights, the cheetah being based on the old mirage as you know but had good old SA technology on board, and the American f18 couldnt touch it, at the end both Jets were tied. What happened to all that brain power that SA had?

      En - 2012-04-12 13:35

      PIET and MIKE....about three years ago a South African submarine sunk an entire NATO fleet during an exercise, and just this year we gave the Germans a headache during an exercise with our Navy. During Exercise LION EFFORT 2012 in Sweden (ended this month), South African Air Force Gripens shot down 9 enemy aircraft for a loss of 1. So your points about standards dropping are mute, to say the least.

      Mike - 2012-04-13 09:48

      im not arguing our pilots and seamen's ability, i know they more than capable as history shows, if i was a foreign pilot i would rather cross cannons with an american fighter pilot before a south african. all im saying is in the 70's and 80's we couldnt import arms so we built our own world class war machines. what happened to that ability?

  • Dave - 2012-04-11 20:20

    People must know the facts before they comment.A task group made out of different navies is battling to curb piracy in somalia with their more sophisticated vessels.Piracy cant be fought with surface missiles and phalanx gun.Those vessels are designed for WAR.

  • Mike Purchase - 2012-04-11 20:25

    Sounds like organised crime out at see at its best.

  • Scouter - 2012-04-11 20:34

    It was only yesterday that we were being told just how effective our security agencies are - surely not another case of Mr Zuma being economical with the truth?

  • Eric - 2012-04-11 20:38

    I know that we should b positive in life, but let us not being betray via media that in Mzansi piracy can be stoped. The Gov. It self fail to cease disc piracy then how can it manage to cease this ones? Senior officials are good in empty promoses via public. If they wana cease then for how long in decades or years?

  • Jamie - 2012-04-11 20:42

    Yes they have a frigate at my home town on Pemba in the north of Mozambique. Also a turbine Dak as well however they dont really do much - I fly further out to sea with my aircraft than the turbine dak which has better range - pilots say they cannot go to far without good communication.... hello welcome to Africa..

  • phathuchicos - 2012-04-11 20:48

    andthe police service too.

  • Sechaba - 2012-04-11 20:50

    Some people are just against any good thing done by our Government. Why don't they just leave thing country, North Korea can welcome them.

      Michael - 2012-04-11 21:21

      Maybe the SA Government should stand up for it's citizens then. What is wrong in defending your own borders/citizens/people. Dont you think trust in the government would be restored if us, ourselves defend ourself and not the European Union? (In the related matter) Should we wait for those pirates to patrol the West Coast or should we stop them before even entering the Mozambique Channel.

      En - 2012-04-11 22:18 clearly haven't understood what this news article is about, nor do you know what is already being done by the SA navy 2 fight piracy. I think that's clear from what you just wrote above.

      elewies - 2012-04-12 07:58

      Trollol @ Micheal

  • watsongeorgejan - 2012-04-11 21:10

    Guys the crux of the matter here is that, you have foreign security personnel on those vessels guarding them from their destinations. Okay? Now, for security reasons, the question is do we allow armed foreigners into our maritine territory? That's why she talks about legislative changes that will have to be made.

  • watsongeorgejan - 2012-04-11 21:11

    Guys the crux of the matter here is that, you have foreign security personnel on those vessels guarding them from their destinations. Okay? Now, for security reasons, the question is do we allow armed foreigners into our maritine territory? That's why she talks about legislative changes that will have to be made.

  • Michael - 2012-04-11 21:13

    The South African Defence Force is more than capable enough to deal with this problem, the problem however, the SA Gov is to scared for any conflict or actually they dont know how to handle conflict with \friends\ and would rather let the European Union sort it out. So blame it on the Europeans (again) Spineless. The ANC dont want to be seen as a fighting (*read defensive) organization/government

      Oom - 2012-04-12 03:05

      Well either way I welcome the Europeam sailors to our beautiful land. They will help secure our sea lanes and just think of all the Euros and Pounds they will spend here.

      npretorius2 - 2012-04-12 08:03

      It is as if the entire world is ignoring the problem, EVERYONE knows that all the pirates on east coast is based in Eyl,Somalia. Sail there with 3 or 4 destroyers and take out every single vessel and everyone. Problem solved. Eyl is a lawless town where practically every person dabbles in something illegal, whether its piracy or khat. The world will be a better place without them

  • Mike Purchase - 2012-04-11 21:33

    Haha sechaba you are funny the problem with you okies is you think only you own this country.Leaving isnt an option thats the easy way out,most of us have worked our butts off to give back to this country,not just steal steal steal.We all own the world so give as much as you can back to it.

  • Desdimona Eslene Kortjie - 2012-04-11 21:37

    thank you jamie bcos most of these people dont knw wots happenin out there but so quick to point fingers at da sa navy and goverment all u people wana see is da bad and forget abt the good

  • Ruan - 2012-04-12 08:17

    I think the lot of you commenting here need to read the fine print and not knock down our navy,I personally am one of these Contractors,I have seen the SA navy patrolling the Mozambique channel and they are doing and dam fine job,dont be so quick to whine and complain as all in this country do all the time,we as South Africans are spoilt to say the least in many ways,and I speak from travelling the world and living abroad myself.This article is about all the merchant vessels transiting though aour waters with armed security onboard and thats it in a nutshell,the Government is just being very wary of all these weapons on merchant vessels transiting into our ports and it can open other doors regarding smuggling etc.

  • Gcwabe.KaMavovo - 2012-04-12 09:44

    Good to see people that know exactly what's going on in the navy commenting here.

  • flysouth - 2012-04-12 10:30

    I cannot understand the problem here - so armed guards on board foreign non-military ships may not be allowed onshore? - okay, so keep the weapons locked up onboard - simple! I was on a BP tanker many years ago where I was shown the 'armory' - a strongroom with the key held by the captain, and containing shotguns, rifles and even a Bren gun plus ammo - all legal then and standard issue for all of BP's fleet of ships at that time. I wonder when the law was changed to forbid such equipment on board ships, and whether the change was brought about as a result of the rabid anti-gun stance of the UN etc?

  • Peter - 2012-04-12 22:49

    WHY CAN`T EX SADF & MK VETERANS WHO ARE OUT OF WORK BUT STILL PHYSICALLY ABLED BE USED TO SECURE VESSELS AROUND OUR COAST (IS THIS NOT CREATING EMPLOYMENT? Use the South African Coast Guard Training Institute (NGO) to assist in training land lubbers the with the help of ex SADF Navy personnel to help with the training to make marine security officers that can be deployed in this capacity around our shores. Why are we looking at Foreign security advisors. Wake up there are hundreds of thousands of SADF veterans who are not allowed to be recognised because of the apartheid era. Stop waisting our money on whims and do something constructive instead of destructive towards the country.

      Mike - 2012-04-13 09:52

      thats a very good suggestion

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