EXERCISE OXIDE 2017: The importance of a sound security plan

Article and photos by Chief Petty Officer J.G. Grant

17 November 2017

SAS AMATOLA, a South African Navy frigate, departed Simon’s Town harbour on Thursday, 16 November 2017. The warship, skippered by Captain (South African Navy) C. Gwala, left for Exercise OXIDE 2017 held in La Reunion.

SAS AMATOLA depart for Exercise Oxide 2017

There is a clear link between maritime security and human security. Sea lines of communication are a vital part of the world economy and a reported 90% of the world’s trade is carried out by sea, according to the World Trade Statistical Review. It is therefore easy to see the importance of a sound security plan. This becomes even more crucial when one considers the current trend of increased globalisation In addition to imports and exports of goods essential to human survival, unsolicited objects such as narcotics are also transported along these sea routes. Armed Forces all over the world assist to combat the flow of narcotics into any country.

SAS AMATOLA depart for Exercise Oxide 2017

Seamanship crew on board SAS AMATOLA getting ready to slip and sail from Simon's Town for Exercise Oxide 2017

France and South Africa share common interests in the Southern part of the Indian Ocean and have agreed on maintaining close defence co-operation. In order to enhance co-operation and operational interoperability between South Africa and France and preserve a maritime presence in the Indian Ocean, these two nations hold joint exercises such as Exercise OXIDE.

The Exercise is scenario based with the theme for Exercise OXIDE 17 being “Fight against narcotics”. The aim of the exercise is to enhance the combat readiness of both military forces in the fight against narcotics in the Indian Ocean.
The objectives to be obtained for Exercise OXIDE 2017 are:

  • To maintain, promote and build on previous operational and tactical cooperation between FAZSOI and the SANDF

  • To promote training of military personnel and provide Joint Force Preparation training for military personnel, and

  • To develop and test Joint and Combined interoperability

The ship's company of SAS AMATOLA mustered for FOF's speech prior to the ship's departure

The SANDF components participating in the exercise include 1 x frigate (SAS AMATOLA), elements from the Maritime Reaction Squadron, 1 x Super Lynx helicopter embarked on the frigate, 1 x C47TP (DAKOTA) Maritime Surveillance Aircraft and a Medical Task Team embedded on the SAN vessel.

Exercise OXIDE last took place in 2015 from 14 September to 2 October in Richard’s Bay. It allowed both the South African and French Maritime Co-ordination Rescue Centres (MRCC’s) to test their abilities to deal with multi-agency operations.