SAS Mendi and Ghanaian Navy ships joined by US Navy in exercisesOct 05, 2007
USS DOYLE (FFG 39), four Ghanaian patrol craft (GNS ACHIMOTA, GNS YOGAGA, GNS SEBO and GNS DZATA – Ports & Ships) and the newly commissioned South African frigate SAS MENDI (F 148) have been participating in a visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) and maritime interdiction operation exercise off the coast of Takoradi, Ghana during this past week.
Doyle is deployed to the region to help strengthen regional partnerships and improve maritime security and safety in West and Central Africa.
Prior to getting underway, each ship exchanged officers and crew members with the other ships involved. Doyle embarked 20 Ghanaian and South African personnel and provided 10 riders among the ships in the flotilla.
The overall exercise included scenarios of divisional tactics, small boat operations, rescue and assistance (R&A), and was highlighted by a VBSS team exercise.
“The VBSS exercise in particular provided the Ghanaian participants a real-time opportunity to display their level of proficiency they had previously practiced in port and underway with Doyle crew members," said Capt John Nowell, commodore, Destroyer Squadron 60. “They performed extremely well.”
During the R&A exercise portion, Doyle acted as the vessel in distress while both Doyle and Mendi’s rigid hull inflatable boats were used to transport personnel to Doyle for R&A familiarisation.
“The R&A provided useful knowledge to the South African Navy as they are in the process of establishing procedures for their repair locker teams while the Ghanaian sailors were able to apply skills they had learned while working with Doyle during an in port engagement,” said Nowell.
The exercise demonstrated the increased capacity of the Ghanaian sailors involved and integrated the South African navy as a capable partner nation in the maritime region of West and Central Africa.
source – US Naval Forces Europe - US 6th Fleet Public Affairs
Footnote – SAS Mendi visited Ghana while returning to South Africa after having taken part with 23 other ships in Brazil’s Bi-Centennial celebrations. These included a frigate and a patrol boat of the Nigerian Navy.
Combined exercises with other navies are coming thick and fast for the South African Navy. Already this year SAS Amatola has participated in the UK with the Royal Navy, while there have been joint exercises with a NATO task force off Cape Point and last week further exercises involving SAS AMATOLA, SAS MANTHATISI and USS FORREST SHERMAN while sailing between Durban and Cape Town.
Next year joint exercises will include a visit by the German Navy, followed by ships from Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil taking part in Exercise Atlasur. In addition joint exercises involving ships of the South African Navy, Indian Navy and Brazilian Navy are planned, the first involving the three members of IBSA (India/Brazil/South Africa). Details of all these will be made available a little closer to the time.
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