Naval Base Durban, home to the patrol squadron of the SA Navy (SAN), is on track to welcome the first multi-mission inshore patrol vessel (MMIPV) come mid-year.
While the base at Salisbury Island in the greater Durban port precinct, is still in transition from a naval station to a fully-fledged base, it’s all hands on deck as base commander Rear Admiral (JG) Jabulani Amos Mbotho has taken charge of the current patrol vessels and will have a third hull to oversee in a few months.
Mbotho was named base commander in April 2018 and is supported in his managerial duties and efforts by patrol squadron commander, Commander Nkosinathi Kenneth Mabuse. He arrived in Durban in January last year.
The only hulls currently home-ported at Naval Base Durban are the refurbished and renamed Minister Class strikecraft SAS Isaac Dyobha (P1565) and SAS Makhanda (P1569). They will be joined by the new hull currently under construction at Damen Shipyards in Cape Town. The as-yet unnamed MMIPV is the first of three new hulls for the maritime service of the national defence force. A third converted strikecraft, SAS Galeshewe (P1567), was taken from active to Class 1 Reserve late last year.
The patrol squadron has yet to be named.
Naval Base Durban is, according to SA Navy headquarters in Pretoria, “ready, willing and able” to welcome the new addition to the fleet. This will be done by the about a thousand SAN personnel at the base. Musterings cover technical, logistics and the full range of support personnel. Refurbishment and renovation of facilities at the base, once home to the strikecraft flotilla, are complete to house the base personnel complement.
defenceWeb is told staffing for the still to be named patrol squadron is currently underway.