PHOTEX: Chinese navy to visit US, New Zealand, Australia

Soldiers of the North China Sea Fleet, one of three fleets of the People’s Liberation Army Navy, salute on the missile destroyer Qingdao before departure, in Qingdao, East China’s Shandong province, Aug 20, 2013. The ship, carrying nearly 700 soldiers and a helicopter, will visit the United States, New Zealand and Australia, along with escort ship Linyi and depot ship Hongzehu. The fleet will participate in two maritime drills in the US and Australia. (Photo/Xinhua)

Missile escort ship Linyi will visit the US, Australia, and New Zealand with missile destroyer Qingdao and supply ship Hongzehu, beginning on Aug 20, 2013. (Photo/Xinhua)

A shipboard helicopter in charge of patrol, maritime rescue and antisubmarine operation will take part in the visits following the North China Sea Fleet, Aug 20, 2013. (Photo/Xinhua)

Crew members of the shipboard helicopter, Aug 20, 2013. (Photo/Xinhua)

Soldiers on Linyi line up before departure for the US, Australia, and New Zealand. (Photo/Xinhua)

Soldiers on Qingdao salute before departure for the US, Australia, and New Zealand.(Photo/Xinhua)

Missile destroyer Qingdao parked in Qingdao city, Shandong province, Aug 20, 2013. (Photo/Xinhua)

Soldiers on Linyi salute before departure for the US, Australia, and New Zealand. (Photo/Xinhua)

South African Navy OPVs conduct counter-piracy operations in Mozambique Channel

The SAN Warrior-class OPV is the refurbished Minister-class, originally built during the 1970s by Sandock Austral, Durban under licence from Israel.

SAS Isaac Dyobha takes over from SAS Galeshewe patrolling Mozambique Channel

Photo: Martin Venter, Navy News

The refurbished offshore patrol vessel SAS Isaac Dyobha has taken over from the SAS Galeshewe in patrolling the Mozambique Channel for pirates and other maritime hazards.

Galeshewe is on its way to Cape Town after a four month patrol, and will be used by the South African Navy (SAN) for training duties.

Galeshewe was the first offshore patrol vessel (OPV) to be assigned duties for Operation Copper, the three nation anti-piracy effort off the lower continental east coast. Her deployment in the Mozambique Channel means three different classes of South African warship – the supply ship SAS Drakensberg and at least two of the Valour Class frigates have to date supplied the maritime ears, eyes and reaction forces to stop pirates venturing into Southern African Development Community (SADC) waters.

Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula indicated R585 million of the current defence budget has been allocated to Operation Copper. South Africa has partnered with Mozambique and Tanzania in this ongoing anti-piracy operation.

Three Warrior-class strike craft (of nine originally received in the 1970s and 80s) were recently converted into offshore patrol vessels by Southern African Shipyards (SAS). Isaac Dyobha completed sea acceptance trials at the end of February, with Galeshewe following shortly afterwards. SAS Makhanda is still awaiting sea trials, as spare parts are required before the vessel can head out to sea, according to Southern African Shipyards.

A fourth strike craft, SAS Adam Kok, is currently at Salisbury Island, Durban, awaiting refit. Tenders have gone out, but not been awarded yet.

An OPV will be permanently operated from Naval Station Durban – they are currently operating from there on a detached basis from Simon’s Town, rotating with one another.