International and Regional Cooperation
Since January 1994, the SA Navy has visited countries
in Europe, the United States and Canada, West and Southern Africa,
countries on the Arabian Sea, India and Pakistan and some of the
Atlantic and Indian Ocean Island states. Foreign warships from all over
the world now pay regular visits to South African ports and inter-navy
exercises have become more frequent between the SA Navy and navies from
other African countries, South America, Europe, Great Britain, the
United States and Asia.
In 1994 SAS Outeniqua delivered the world's largest
portable hospital to Trieste, Italy, from where it was transported to
war-torn Bosnia on behalf of local Muslim communities.
In 2001 SAS Drakensberg visited India, taking with
her hundreds of tons of relief aid for the victims of floods that
devastated areas of Bangladesh.
In April 2001 SA Navy vessels assisted Australian
special forces with the apprehension of a fishing vessel which was
alleged to have been poaching Patagonian Toothfish in Australian
Regular exercises are held with the navies of
Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay during the ATLASUR series of exercises.
And so it goes on…………
These contacts not only promote our foreign relations
and goodwill, but afford the Navy the opportunity to conduct combined
exercises and to exchange professional expertise.
Maritime Defence: SA Navy
The role of the SA Navy is to prepare for and, when so ordered, to
- Appropriate naval operations in defence of the RSA, its citizens
- Operations other than war in support of other relevant and
approved national goals
The SA Navy's main tasks include the maintenance,
preservation and the provision of naval services in support of other
state departments and authorities, where such assistance includes the
- Search and rescue
- Protection of maritime resources
- Sea transport Diplomatic support
The Need for a Navy
In addition to the above facts, one must also consider the following:
- The RSA's ports are the trade gateway for many African countries.
- This area is rich in unexploited minerals and food resources. ·
The RSA is among the top 12 sea-trading nations.
- The RSA is vulnerable to blockade and the cutting off of its sea
- The RSA is vulnerable to the plundering of its marine resources.
- According to Germany's own records, 28 U-Boats operated off the
South African coastline during World War II. German and Japanese
submarines accounted for a total of 133 merchant ships sunk and 6
damaged. Submarine action also accounted for the Dutch warship HMNS
Colombia. Surface raiders sank a total of 20 merchant ships and
mines laid by either submarines or surface raiders also accounted
for 2 ships sunk and 2 damaged.
The SA Navy has been responsible for protecting South
Africa's interests for three-quarters of a century. Prior to 1922, the
Royal Navy was largely responsible for the safety of shipping around the
Cape with many South Africans serving in a number of their ships. In
today's increasingly uncertain and competitive world, the SA Navy
continues to protect our national interests and responsibilities as well
as helping to guard against risks to our peace and security.
The SA Navy is now actively cooperating with other
African countries and their navies and is willing to provide assistance
and to cooperate in a regional context.
The SA Navy also has the ability to further enhance
the RSA's prestige abroad and encourage trade and sound international
relations. It is already playing a leading role in this regard.
The RSA requires a navy with a broad range of
balanced capabilities as a key component of the National Defence Force
in order to support the nation's objectives to project peace or, if
necessity, strength, during times of tranquility or tension.
The SA Navy entered the missile era on 25 March 1980
with the successful firing of a surface to surface missile from the then
SAS Jim Fouche in which the target, the obsolete destroyer SAS Jan van
Riebeeck, was struck amidships causing considerable damage.