The task of ensuring that the vessels are safe to
proceed to sea has become the first priority since the
Joint Commissioning Ceremony took place on 19 June
(where the DAFF vessels were brought under the command
of Naval Commanding Officers).
The five DAFF research and
patrol vessels alongside for the joint
Several inspections are being conducted in order ensure
that the exacting safety standards of the SA Navy are
met. This implies that none of the vessels except SAS
AFRICANA have been able to commence with patrols. In
order to ensure continuity with the DAFF survey
schedule, the SA Navy has deployed some its own vessels
to conduct patrols whilst this safety audit process is
underway. Fisheries inspectors from DAFF have been
seconded to the SA Navy vessels for these patrols.
During May and June 2012, three patrols were conducted
totalling approximately 304 hours at sea. One of the
patrols resulted in the arrest of a fishing vessel that
was not in possession of the required permits and a fine
Additionally, the SAS AFRICANA deployed with a
contingent of fishing crew and scientists from DAFF in
order to conduct important fish specie surveys. The
first survey resulted in approximately 673 hours at sea
with additional specie survey deployments imminent (in
accordance with the DAFF schedule).
Currently, three of the patrol vessels are fully
manned. SAS VICTORIA MXENGE is presently conducting sea
trials in False Bay and the SAS LILLIAN NGOYI is
focussing on addressing critical defects on her main
engines before deployment. The research vessel SAS ELLEN
KHUZWAYO will deploy as soon as a fishing crew has been
appointed by DAFF.
Furthermore, bridging training courses are being
conducted in order to acquaint our sailors with the
vessel specific equipment on board. By the end of
August, the required safety audits, surveys as well as
repair of the vessels should be completed and patrols
can commence early in September.