Indian Navy patrol vessel visits South Africa

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The Indian Navy’s warship INS Sunayna has paid a port visit to Durban, months after another Indian Navy visit to KwaZulu-Natal.

INS Sunayna was in Durban from 21 to 25 August, the Indian Navy said, during which time personnel from the Indian and South African Navies “engaged in a wide range of professional and training interactions, deck visits and sports fixtures. Joint training sessions were conducted on various aspects of navigation, firefighting, damage control and Visit, Board, Search & Seizure (VBSS).”

The ship was open for visitors on 23 August and one of these was the Consul General of India in Durban, Dr Thelma John David, who was familiarised with ship’s role and capabilities. The vessel also welcomed onboard more than 200 young learners and educators from over two dozen schools and universities.

The ship undertook a Maritime Partnership Exercise (MPX) with South African Navy inshore patrol vessel SAS King Sekhukhune I off Durban, on leaving harbour, “furthering jointness and interoperability.”

The Indian Navy said, “The successful culmination of the visit is testament to shared commitment of both the Navies towards fostering maritime cooperation and partnership.”

INS Sunayna’s visit comes months after the Talwar class frigate INS Trishul visited Durban at the beginning of June while on an operational deployment in the Indian Ocean. INS Trishul first visited Durban on 8 September 2003. Last year, INS Tarkash visited Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) in October 2022 for exercise Ibsamar.

INS Sunayna is a Saryu-class patrol vessel built by Goa Shipyard Limited. The 105-metre long vessel has a crew of 116, is armed with a 76 mm main gun, and can reach a top speed of 25 knots. A helicopter can be carried on the rear deck.

Sunayna is often deployed for anti-piracy and narcotics patrol operations as well as search and rescue, humanitarian and disaster relief, and escort missions.