Operation Prosper chalks up successes


A joint interdepartmental maritime borderline patrol underway as part of Operation Prosper along the east coast has since April 6 boarded 16 vessels in South African borders, imposed nine fines and confiscated hake worth R70 million.

Prosper is the codename for South African National Defence Force support to the SA Police Service in crime prevention. The patrol, that aims to enforce legislation along the coastline involves the SA Navy frigate SAS Amatola and the Dutch Damen-designed environmental inshore patrol vessel the SA Lilian Ngoyi. Aboard are police as well as representatives of the country’s intelligence agencies, customs officials from the SA Revenue Service and officials of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

The patrol, under command of the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) is combing the area from Cape Agulhas to Kosi Bay until the end of the month. A SA Air Force Lynx helicopter is accompanying the vessels and assisting in locating and identifying vessels to board and interrogate. “This is one of the joint security-related exercises being conducted in the run-up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup,” NATJOINTS spokeswoman Brigadier Sally de Beer says.

She says of the fines six were for Marine Living Resources Act transgressions and three for Merchant Shipping Act transgressions. A fishing trawler, the Forest Lily, was discovered to be operating with an expired fishing licence and 70 ton of hake, with an approximate value of R2 million, was seized. The ships spent last weekend in port in Durban and will next call at Port Elizabeth.