CAPE TOWN South
Africa (Xinhua) -- Two South African
navy vessels have completed patrol of the Northern Mozambican
Channel as part of the anti-piracy Operation Copper, South
African authorities said Wednesday.
The two vessels,
SAS Protea and SAS Galeshewe, will return to their
naval base in Durban on Friday, the South African Navy said.
"Despite the fact that no arrests were made, this operation
does send a warning to any criminal element that the SA Navy is
ready to protect its territorial waters, as well as those of its
neighbors," said the navy.
During the mission, the two vessels sailed more than 3,000 km
to Pemba in Northern Mozambique, according to the navy.
This was the first time in many years that the South African
Navy deployed two ships to the Operation Copper.
Deploying the vessels was in fulfillment of South Africa’s
international obligations towards the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) maritime security.
The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has provided
a permanent presence in the Mozambique Channel since January
2011 on Operation Copper, which is primarily an
The mandate of the South African Navy during Operation
Copper was to combat drug, arms and human trafficking, as
well as illegal fishing.
Both ships had members of the Mozambican Defence Force
onboard during the patrols in order to conduct these measures,
said the navy.
A unique feature of the deployment was that the two ships
operated completely independent from foreign support and did not
enter any harbor during the three-week deployment.
The ships used Pemba bay as a base from which to conduct
their patrols, according to the navy.
The likelihood of a piracy incident taking place in the
Mozambique Channel is probably at its highest level since 2010,
the SANDF said earlier.
South Africa got involved in anti-piracy operations following
a call for assistance from Mozambique.