Saldanha to host ex Ibsamar come October

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Saldanha is seemingly the SA Navy (SAN) venue of choice for naval exercises this year with Ibsamar set down for October in the wake of Good Hope in in late January.

The tri-nation naval exercise is reportedly a symbol of shared Brazilian, Indian and South African commitment to maritime security, stability and freedom of navigation in the world’s oceans, a SAN communication officer reported during the March Ibsamar initial planning meeting in Simon’s Town. As maritime powers, these nations recognise the importance of collaborative efforts in addressing common challenges such as piracy, illegal fishing and maritime terrorism according to the report.

Ibsamar 2024 will run from 7 to 16 October with Saldanha port and associated SAN facilities in the Western Cape west coast harbour town set to have as yet unknown naval assets from the three nations in port.

The tri-nation naval exercise this year will be the eighth time South Africa’s naval skills are pitted against those of co-BRICS, now expanded to include Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), countries.

The maritime service of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) has exercises with other BRICS partners – Mosi (two with Russia) and once with China – on its list of completed international maritime events.

The successful execution of Exercise Ibsamar VIII will display the operational readiness of the three participating navies and provide for an exchange of best practices as well as boosting co-operation and friendship. This extends to support elements such as the SA Air Force (SAAF), SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) and the SAN maritime reaction squadron (MRS).

The previous edition of Ibsamar was in October 2022 around Algoa Bay, with no Brazilian participation. Notable was the participation of the first new SA Navy multi-mission inshore patrol vessel (MMIPV), SAS King Sekhukhune I (P1571), which had been taken into service six months before the exercise.

From 21 January to 6 February Exercise Good Hope VIII saw the SA Navy hosting elements of the German Navy (Deutsche Marine) in the form of a boarding company from its sea battalion, in the port of Saldanha with SAN elements, including its maritime reaction squadron (MRS) and divers.