Rough seas delay Ibsamar III naval exercise


Rough seas along the coast of the Cape Peninsula have slightly delayed the start of the first sea phase of Exercise Ibsamar III, the latest iteration of the Ibsamar biennial maritime exercise between the naval forces of South African, Brazil and India.

The main portion of Ibsamar III will be conducted on the South West Coast of South Africa over the period 10-26 October while the exercise in its entirety concludes on 30 October. The harbour phase commenced on Wednesday 10 October at the Simon’s Town Naval Base, with the first sea phase due to commence on Monday 15 October. However, a powerful South Easter wind and rough seas prevented the naval task group from proceeding to sea.

The winds were so strong that three tug boats were used to keep the 175-metre long Indian Navy fleet tanker INS Deepak against the quay where she was tied up.

It was therefore decided to delay the commencement of the sea phase of exercises, with the combined task group proceeded to sea during the morning of 16 October. This resulted in the loss of the first day of exercises. This delay is not expected to be serious as the first sea day mainly involved cross-deck training and manoeuvring exercises.

Seaside restaurants at the nearby Kalk Bay harbour were also flooded by the high waves.

Ibsamar was initiated and hosted by South Africa in 2008. Ibsamar II was lead by India but also hosted in South Africa in 2010. Again, South Africa will be hosting Ibsamar III, but this time Brazil will lead the exercise.

The SA Navy has said that the aim of the exercise is to provide collective training for Brazilian, Indian and South African Navy units, building interoperability and mutual understanding between the respective navies. This exercise will also involve members of the Special Forces from all three navies.

Ibsamar III follows hot on the heels of Exercise Atlasur IX, which ended on Tuesday 9 October. This was a multinational maritime exercise between the navies of South Africa, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. With the exercise concluded, the ARA Espora of Argentina and the ROU Uruguay of Uruguay departed for home while the Brazilian corvette BNS Barroso and the South African forces joined the Indian Navy INS Deepak (fleet tanker) and INS Delhi (missile destroyer) for Ibsamar III. The South African presence includes the offshore patrol vessel SAS Umzimkulu, the frigate SAS Amatola and the submarine SAS Queen Modjadji I.

INS Delhi, built in India and commissioned in 1997, is a multipurpose Command and Control platform capable of operating in a multi threat environment. She is equipped with a formidable arsenal of missiles, guns, torpedoes, anti-submarine rockets and chaff decoys. She can carry two Sea King Helicopters capable of both anti-submarines as well as anti-surface operations.

INS Deepak, commissioned in 2011, is a modern fleet tanker, which is also designed to be utilized as a fleet support ship. She has the capacity to carry liquid and solid cargo, together with cargo containers on the upper deck and can provide fuel to three ships at sea, at one time.