“The Peoples’ Navy” is a big hit in Durban
Last week’s Port Festival in Durban proved a good platform for the SA Navy to once again fly the flag (or should that be ensign) for the maritime arm of service. Living up to its appellation of “The Peoples” Navy coined by now retired former Navy Chief, Johannes Mudimu, the three platforms in harbour as part of the international World Hydrographic Day commemoration, attracted thousands of visitors. At the same time the exhibitions put on by Navy divers and the overall SA National Defence Force (SANDF) careers stand proved popular among visitors to the country’s busiest commercial port. At the head of affairs, vessel-wise, was SAS Protea, the Navy hydrographic vessel with the supporting acts coming from the OPVs SAS Isaac Dyobha and SAS Galeshewe. SA Navy media officer, Commander Greyling van den Berg, who had more than his fair share of port festivals under his belt, said Protea attracted “by far the longest queues I have ever seen in all my time of attending port festival and similar events”.
At one stage the queue waiting patiently to board the ageing hydrographic vessel was more than 150 metres long. “It goes to show that warships are not always the main attraction,” he said adding Protea was “as always, immaculate”. Estimates are that more than four thousand people took the opportunity to get a hands-on feel for some of the vessels in the Navy fleet. The Navy also used the World Hydrographic Day/ port festival events to exercise its right of entry into the city of Durban with a parade to the City Hall. The panoramic photograph above was taken by Chief Petty Officer Len Heine from the Reserve Force in Durban and shows the N Shed passenger terminal with the three SA Navy platforms.