SA not going to Royal Australian Navy international fleet review


The South African Navy (SAN) will not have a seaborne presence at the single largest naval event of the year – the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) international fleet review scheduled for October.

The review will commemorate the centenary of the first entry of the RAN fleet into Sydney.

The review, according to the RAN, is a high profile international event and the RAN’s signature commemorative event for 2013. Planned in partnership with the New South Wales government and the city of Sydney, it is anticipated that about 40 visiting warships and 12 tall ships will participate. The RAN Sea Power Conference 2013 and Pacific 2013 International Maritime Congress and Exhibition will run as complementary events to the international fleet review.

A spokesman for the SA Navy said the maritime arm of the SA National Defence Force was invited to be part of the Sydney international fleet review but would not be attending due to “other prior commitments”. Australia did not take part in democratic South Africa’s first international fleet review in 1998.

Currently 19 navies have accepted the invitation from the RAN. They include the Royal Brunei Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, People’s Liberation Army Navy, French Navy, Indian Navy, Indonesian Navy, Japan Maritime Self Defence Force, Royal Malaysian Navy, Federated States of Micronesia Maritime Police Unit, Royal New Zealand Navy, Papua New Guinea Defence Force – Maritime Operations Element, Republic of Singapore Navy, Spanish Navy, Republic of Korea Navy, Royal Thai Navy, Russian Navy, Tongan Defence Services – Maritime Force, the Royal Navy and the US Navy.

The host country will have no less than 19 of its warships in the review lead by HMAS Sydney, one of four guided missile frigates in its fleet. Other RAN maritime assets in the review include fisheries protection vessels, amphibious heavy lifters, submarines, Anzac Class frigates, a Bay Class landing ship dock, minehunters, heavy landing craft and survey and hydrographic vessels.

The RAN will confirm all navies and ships for the international fleet review closer to the event.

South African and Australia are both members of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), a voluntary initiative seeking to increase maritime co-operation among navies of the Indian Ocean region’s littoral states.

South Africa currently chairs IONS, with SA Navy Chief Vice Admiral Johannes Mudimu due to hand over chairmanship to Australia. This will happen at the next IONS gathering in Perth next year.

Apart from Australia and South Africa, IONS counts 33 members. Member states are Bahrain, Bangladesh, the Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, France, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Kuwait, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor Leste, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.