The South African Navy assisted the police with their Christmas-time anticrime drive by deploying a Valour-class frigate with a SuperLynx maritime helicopter as well as a police and Special Forces contingent aboard.
The SA National Defence Force`s chief director of operations, Rear Admiral Philip Schoultz announced news of the operation at a Joint Operations Division press briefing on Friday.
"We did not announce that operation before hand… we just did it," Schoultz says.
"The aim was to see firstly what is happening along our coast. We boarded over 40 ships in the process and it was quite interesting. With possibly one exception, everyone was most accommodating and said they welcomed the exercise.
"We stopped vessels at sea, we boarded them, we inspected their papers and we think it was a great success. It was also the first time we utilised the Lynx integrated with the frigate and the capability it gave us in terms of extended range… in terms of data gathering both day and night it was quite amazing.
"We can`t wait for the day they will be fully operational and handed over to us for operational utilisation," the admiral added.
"Did we find any acts of criminality? There were certain cases we`ve handed over to the police and they will take it further. We also had police aboard.
"We plan to do a second operation later this year. Our aim is not to catch people. Deterrence is better than cure. We want people to be aware we are out there…," he added.
Major General Barney Hlatshwayo, the General Officer Commanding the Joint Operational Headquarters said the SAS Isandlwana (F147) was deployed from 8 to 22 December and carried 16 passengers for the mission, including two boat teams from 4 Special Forces Regiment. The ship also had support of one air force Douglas C47TP "Turbodak" maritime patrol aircraft.
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