SAS Spioenkop steaming to Sri Lanka after porting in Mauritius
The first part of SAS Spioenkop’s passage to India has been successfully completed and the Valour Class frigate is now headed to India for an International Fleet Review and the fifth iteration of Exercise Ibsamar. Her passage to the Indian Ocean island was not all fair winds and calm seas with easterly winds and northerly swells contributing to what a crew member termed “some uncomfortable rolling at times”. The sea state has not stopped the ship and its crews from stating and completing the majority of objectives set down for this part of the transit. Man overboard and quick reaction drills for the ship’s standing emergency parties as well as casualty and stretcher drills have been an almost daily feature since leaving Simon’s Town. The embarked Super Lynx maritime helicopter from 22 Squadron had by the time of porting in Mauritius spent more than nine hours in the air working with SA Navy divers, medics and Special Forces operators.
A high emphasis was placed on training to allow crew members to qualify as, among others, Officer of the Day and Quartermasters. Commanding Officer Captain Mike Boucher used the Simon’s Town/Mauritius transit as the base of his observation to the crew to be mindful of the mandate and objectives of the trip. “We are representing South Africa and must carry ourselves with pride and dignity aware of the knowledge that tremendous efforts and resources went into the ship to fulfil the joint objectives of the voyage.” Spioenkop arrived in Port Louis, Mauritius, after seven days at sea and was welcomed by the South African High Commissioner to the island, Dr Nomvuyo Nokwe, and music provided by the Manutius Police Force band. Activities planned and executed while the ship was alongside included a cocktail function for VIPs from government, the diplomatic and defence corps, including Commander Allessander Carneiro, Officer Commanding the Brazilian patrol vessel BNS Amazonas. Duty watch was essential during the time in Port Louis as more than two thousand Mauritians came aboard to have a closer look at the Spioenkop. She is currently en route to Sri Lanka before the final leg to Visakhapatnam for the International Fleet Review organised and hosted by the Indian Navy after which Spioenkop will be South Africa’s sole representative in Exercise Ibsamar along with Amazonas and Indian Navy vessels.