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Plymouth Naval Base hosts South African Warship

16 February 2017

The captain of a South African Naval warship has said how pleased he is to be in Plymouth as the visit coincides with the most important ceremonial event in his nation’s defence force year

The SAS Amatola has arrived in HM Naval Base Devonport for a few weeks of training with the Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) organisation.

The visit is part of a broader engagement between the UK and South Africa.

The ship’s first visit to Plymouth will be followed with a memorial event in Portsmouth on Tuesday 21st February to mark the sinking of the South African troop ship Mendi 100 years ago off the Isle of Wight which coincides with the nation’s Armed Forces Day. 

My crew is also excited. The South African and Royal navies have close links; especially with the support we give the Royal Navy in Simonstown Naval Base.

Captain Johannes Roux

A live broadcast will link the two events across the world.

Captain Johannes Roux, Amatola captain, said: “I am delighted to be in Plymouth and Devonport Naval Base.

“My crew is also excited. The South African and Royal navies have close links; especially with the support we give the Royal Navy in Simonstown Naval Base.

“HMS Portland has recently visited on her deployment.’’

Naval Base Commander, Commodore Ian Shipperley said:  “The visit is of high importance to the UK-South African relationship given the strategic importance of Simonstown Naval Base, and other logistical support provided to the Royal Navy by the South Africans. 

“This is an excellent opportunity for us to return the support, demonstrating it is a strong bilateral relationship.’’

Captain Roux stressed the international links and said some of his ship’s company had requested visits to London where they had relatives, while he had previously undergone training at Devonport with FOST while on another ship. 

Captain Roux said the architecture of Devonport and Simonstown were identical because of the close historic links between Britain and South Africa.

He will be taking his officers on a history tour of the city and dockyard to reinforce the heritage links.

The ship will continue a good relationship with FOST and to conduct FOST-supported training for a week to prepare for their subsequent tasking and operations.  

The ship’s captain and the senior South African Military Advisor in the UK are also taking part in official engagements with Devonport senior naval staff and civic representatives.

Sporting and fitness competitions and sessions have been organised between Royal Naval and South African sailors.

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