The coronavirus pandemic has put paid to one of the SA Navy’s regular exercises for this year following last year’s Exercise Oxide “postponed by mutual agreement”.
The exercise with French naval forces based at La Reunion is an almost annual component of the South African maritime force’s calendar. It is staged in either South African or French-controlled waters and sees training and live exercise phases.
Earlier this year when French surveillance frigate Le Nivose had a medical emergency en route to France’s southern and Antarctic territories, it was said her next visit to the southern tip of Africa would be in November for Exercise Oxide.
Exercise Oxide was this year scheduled to take place in Gordon’s Bay with SA Navy fleet headquarters at Simon’s Town serving as exercise home port.
The exercise is generally staged in Western Cape waters with the exception of 2015 when KwaZulu-Natal port Richards Bay hosted French and South African warships.
The SA Navy indicated Exercise Oxide 2020 would suffer the same fate as its predecessor with COVID-19 cited as the reason. It is not known at this stage if there are plans to stage a Franco/South African naval exercise next year.