Written by Dean Wingrin
The SA Navy frigate SAS Spioenkop has completed a successful five month deployment on Operation Copper, South Africa’s anti-piracy mission in the Mozambique Channel.
The Valour-class frigate returned to Naval Base Simon’ Town on Tuesday, having left South Africa on 28 December 2013 for deployment off Mozambique.
Cheerful family members bearing posters of welcome lined the quayside to welcome the sailors as the Marimba Band from the South African Navy Band contributed to the festive atmosphere.
The mission for Operation Copper is to provide maritime security and prevent piracy in the Mozambique Channel. Since the withdrawal of Tanzania almost two years ago, the mission is a bilateral operation between South Africa and Mozambique.
In a statement, the SA Navy said that the presence of SAS Spioenkop was a deterrent and had contributed immensely towards the reduction of piracy in the Mozambique Channel.
“There has been no incident of piracy reported since the SANDF made its presence known in the Mozambique Channel,” the statement noted.
SAS Spioenkop has had a busy year. Shortly before her departure for Operation Copper, she returned at the end of November 2013 from a six-week Interop West Deployment, in which she visited five countries during the Military Diplomatic Mission to the West Coast of Africa.
SAS Spioenkop is being replaced by the offshore patrol vessel (OPV) SAS Galeshewe, which set sail today.
The South African Air Force also supports Operation Copper by providing a 35 Squadron C-47TP Dakota maritime surveillance aircraft, based at the airstrip at Pemba, Mozambique.
Re-used with the kind permission of defenceweb.co.za