SA anti-piracy patrol to continue?

There appears to be some confusion regarding the continuation of South Africa’s anti-piracy operation in the Mozambique Channel. The South African Navy, with the aid and support of Mozambique, has maintained a forward station at the port of Pemba since early 2011, under Operation Copper.

The naval presence generally consists of a frigate supported by a C-47TP Dakota reconnaissance aircraft of the South African Air Force. A South African Navy submarine has also been on patrol in the region. Navy frigate SAS Isandlwana replaced SAS Mendi on station in December.

In a letter to Parliament sent in July last year, President Jacob Zuma said that authorisation for the anti-piracy mission expires on March 31 this year. Several bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding (MOU) with Mozambique were signed during Zuma’s visit to Mozambique in December.

However, on Monday senior Navy personnel stated that SAS Isandlwana is due to return to South African waters shortly as the MoU between South Africa and Mozambique covering South Africa’s assistance in anti-piracy patrols was not yet in place and consequently the Navy will cease to operate in the Mozambican Channel until such time as the MoU had been signed.

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Story courtesy of defence web.

Written by Dean Wingrin

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