SAS Amatola on African west coast patrol


Now that the SAS Amatola has arrived in Africa after her trip to Europe, the vessel is undertaking a patrol of the west coast of the continent combined with several diplomatic visits.

The SAS Amatola arrived in Tema, Ghana, on 30 March and was welcomed in port by the military attaché, Colonel Masisi and the South African High Commissioner to Ghana, Lulama Xingwana, the South African Navy reports.

The Officer Commanding SAS Amatola Captain Franscios Roux paid Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Naval Command Commodore Eric Adu, Tema Acting Metropolitan Chief Executive, Abuanor Nortey and the Mantse (Chief) of Tema, Nii Adjei Kraku II a courtesy call.

Ghanaian Minister of Defence Dominic Nitiwul thanked the South African government for the ship’s diplomatic visit which he said would further cement the good relations between the two countries.

According to the Ghana Armed Forces, South African and Ghanaian sailors carried out several exercises in Tema harbour, including emergency fire procedures at sea, counter-piracy measures, war fighting and damage control scenarios. On 31 March a dinner aboard the ship commemorated the sinking of the SS Mendi in 1917.

The visit was in line with the Defence Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between Ghana and South Africa in October 2000.

SAS Amatola departed Ghana on 3 April and is currently docked in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, according to ship tracking data. She will depart on 8 April and proceed to Luanda, Angola (April 11 to 13) and Walvis Bay, Namibia (April 17 to 19).

The visits fall under Operation Ketane, which saw Amatola depart Simon’s Town on 17 January and undergo British Operational Sea Training (BOST) off Plymouth, the centenary commemoration of the sinking of the SS Mendi during the First World War near Portsmouth on 21 February and participate in Exercise Good Hope VII with the German Navy in the Baltic Sea.

Captain Harry Gwala ceremonially took over command of Amatola from Roux on 1 April but the physical command will only become effective once the vessel arrives back in South Africa on 22 April. Roux is due to take over command of SAS Isandlwana, the next frigate due for a refit.