Bravo Zulu for Ex Oxide

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Exercise Oxide 2022 has run its course with satisfaction expressed on the serials, ranging from Casevac to VBSS (visit, board, search and seizure), executed without a hitch on the “hapless” Lilian Ngoyi by French and South African naval platforms.

The lead fisheries patrol vessel operated by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) was the “target” for the newest addition to the SA Navy fleet, multi-mission inshore patrol vessel (MMIPV) SAS King Sekhukhune I (P1571) and the Reunion-based French Navy patrol ship Le Malin (P701). Others involved in the exercise were the SAN Maritime Reaction Squadron (MRS), Naval Explosive Ordinance Device Disposal (EODD) and the Maritime Search and Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC).

In addition to its search and rescue (SAR) component, Oxide also addressed maritime crime with Ngoyi the target for VBSS serials. These were undertaken, according to a SAN Simon’s Town spokesman, to exchange and improve knowledge between participating navies via patrol and naval tactics.

“All participants experienced no challenges from either defects or weather. The ships departed Simon’s Town harbour under simulated fast in-coming attack craft (FIAC) and commenced the search for participant vessel (Lilian Ngoyi) as the support vessel for the small craft. She was located and positively identified 8 nm west of Kalk Bay. This led to VBSS conducted followed by an onboard military police investigation. Military police on SAS King Sekhukhune I were dispatched to Lilian Ngoyi to conduct investigations. Simulated perpetrators were taken ashore and handed to local authorities for further processing.

The legal aspects of the scenario were not omitted and law enforcement application was deemed successful.

Search and rescue, in addition to testing the skills of naval personnel, saw co-ordination between the MRCC in Cape Town and its sister organisation on the island of La Reunion.

“The rescue was based on a fictitious report to MRCC and the navy vessels were dispatched to the search area. While busy with the search, another area was reported to the ships to investigate. The second area is where personnel in distress were found. Co-ordination between Cape Town and La Reunion was successful with no challenges reported.

“Oxide provided a good opportunity to smoothly conduct operations even when ships met at sea. FNS Nivose (F732) joined the two ships for a Passex and conducted military drills before departing for another mission,” according to the SAN.

Overall Oxide 2022 was summed up a valuable exercise between strategic Indian Ocean partners with civilian authorities’ participation providing an opportunity to further boost co-operation on matters of common interest.

Exercise Oxide 2022 started on 17 November and ended with a closing parade on 26 November at Oscar Wall in Naval Base Simon’s Town’s east dockyard. On parade were naval personnel from both countries who took part in the exercise.