“Last out, first back” is an apt way to describe the current and immediate preceding task of the Navy’s Valour Class frigate SAS Spioenkop (F147).
She was on station in the Mozambique Channel last month when President Jacob Zuma, Commander-in-Chief of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), announced a 12 month extension to South Africa’s Southern African Development Community (SADC) counter-piracy operation off the east coast.
“Spioenkop is back on station,” Navy fleet media liaison officer Commander Adrian Dutton said today.
“She returned to Simon’s town when her tour of duty was finished on March 31, was assigned another task and with that successfully completed steamed up the east coast to again take up station in the Mozambique Channel.”
Spioenkop will spend the next 12 weeks off the coast of Mozambique working at counter-piracy patrols in conjunction with naval personnel from Mozambique and Tanzania.
Dutton said the ship steamed fully replenished but would refuel and restock with food and other supplies at the port of Pemba, where an SA Air Force (SAAF) contingent, including a C-47TP, is also deployed as part of South Africa’s commitment to combatting piracy off the continental east coast.
Initial indications from the Defence Ministry were that the frigate would be replaced by one of the converted Warrior Class strikecraft, now serving as offshore patrol vessels, on counter-piracy duty.
Zuma’s extension of the SADC counter-piracy tasking, made on March 25, said 225 SANDF members would be deployed to serve in Mozambican and Tanzanian, as well as international, waters on counter-piracy operations until March 31 next year.