Home South African SA Navy short of 12 patrol ships

SA Navy short of 12 patrol ships

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South African Navy commander Vice-Admiral Monde Lobese has warned that his crews are struggling to intercept ships entering the country’s waters illegally because they are short of patrol vessels.

King Misuzulu, SA Navy commander Vice-Admiral Monde Lobese and Chief of Staff Lieutenant Michael Ramatswana at the welcoming ceremony of the SAS King Shaka Zulu. Picture: Nqobile Mbonambi, Independent Media

DURBAN – South African Navy commander Vice-Admiral Monde Lobese has warned that the country is at risk of being attacked from the sea because it is short of patrol vessels.

Lobese was speaking in Durban on Friday at the welcoming ceremony of a new vessel named after King Shaka Zulu.

He said for the navy to be able to protect the country from the sea it needed 15 ships, adding that it had only two ships with more than 2,800km to patrol.

Lobese blamed the government for not adequately funding the navy, adding that his troops were struggling to intercept ships entering the country’s waters illegally.

The ship named after King Shaka Zulu. Picture: Nqobile Mbonambi/Independent Media

“We are under-resourced and we are at risk. I can tell you that on Thursday we found ships fishing in the country’s waters illegally and we could have stopped their activities if we had had enough vessels,” said Lobese.

He added that with a new one named after the Griqua king Adam Kok coming next year, the country was still short of 12 vessels.

Last year, the navy received the first vessels, named after King Sekhukhune I. The vessels were manufactured locally.

Friday’s ceremony was attended by King Misuzulu accompanied by regiments led by newly appointed commander Prince Vanana Zulu from KwaMinyamazi Royal Palace.

King Misuzulu attended the welcoming ceremony of the ship named after King Shaka Zulu. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad

Speaking on behalf of the royal family, Prince Africa Zulu thanked the government and the navy for naming the ship after King Shaka, adding that it was a testimony to the country’s recognition of the immense contributions of King Shaka in shaping the shared identity as a nation.

The vessels were intended to strengthen the country’s maritime security and its capacity to respond to maritime threats. They were designed to perform functions such as mine clearance operations and launch sea boarding teams to police illegal, unregistered and unreported fishing.

The vessels were also designed to quickly adapt from one mission to another, depending on the need at a specific time, the SA Navy said.

It added that the vessels were acquired to replace aged and obsolete Warrior Class strike craft and would form part of the Warrior Class group named after historic SA heroes.

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