The Namibian Navy has commissioned into service two former Chinese navy patrol vessels, the NS Daures and NS Brukkaros.
This took place at the naval base in Walvis Bay on 27 October in a ceremony attended by Namibian President Hage Geingob, senior members of the Namibian military, Zhang Yiming, China’s ambassador, and Sun Shihe, Assistant President of Poly Technologies.
Geingob said that “the acquisition of these two ships came as a result of China’s People’s Liberation Army, which offered to donate to the NDF [Namibia Defence Force] in 2014, two Submarine Chasers, with surface and undersurface targets attacking capability. I am informed that delivery of the ships took place in August 2017.”
“The delivery and incorporation of the two Submarine Chasers into our naval fleet will add tremendous value to Namibia’s naval combat surface and under-surface capability, as well as augment the country’s maritime patrol and surveillance capability,” Geingob said.
The two vessels are Haiqing (Type 037/1S)-class patrol craft, which displace 486 tonnes, have a length of 62.8 metres, and a crew of 71. Their maximum speed is 28 knots and their maximum range is 2 407 km at 15 knots. The Namibian vessels are armed with two single-barrel 37 mm guns in open mounts and anti-submarine mortars.
They were refurbished and overhauled by Poly Technologies prior to delivery. This process began in August 2016 and was completed in May this year. Daures is a local name for the Brandberg fire mountain, while Brukkaros is a large extinct volcano in a form of a ring mountain.
Geingob noted that 2017 marks the 13th anniversary of the Namibian Navy after it was transformed from a Wing into a fully-fledged Navy on 7 October 2014.
“Although we are a peaceful nation, given the disturbing rate of flux in modern day geopolitics, we must always remain vigilant in terms of our national security. It is for this reason that we must constantly upgrade and our military hardware and train our military personnel to enable us to repel any threat to our sovereignty, whether aerial, terrestrial or marine.
“Our maritime economy is a major contributor to job creation and economic growth. Given our large coastline, the Navy faces a huge challenge in ensuring that it protects the country against any and all maritime threats. It is therefore of paramount importance that we continue to increase our naval capabilities. Our Navy must be responsive to the challenges of maritime responsibility and our officers must at all times be ready to defend and protect Namibia’s territorial waters and harbours, which are not only valuable assets to Namibia, but the SADC region as a whole, since they present a gateway into the region,” Geingob said.
China has previously supplied military hardware to Namibia, including the NS Elephant, which was built for Namibia in China and commissioned in 2012.