SAS PROTEA sails for Germany to escort back latest submarine
Mar 5, 2008
The South African Navy hydrographic survey ship SAS PROTEA has sailed from Simon’s Town bound for Germany – her mission to escort back to South Africa the navy’s third and final Meko 209 class submarine, SAS QUEEN MODJADJI (S103).
The Protea, known affectionately in the navy as the ‘White Lady’ because of her overall white-painted hull and superstructure, slipped out of Simon’s Town naval harbour last Thursday after a small send-off from family and friends of crew on board the ship.
Dubbed Operation Siphelele (the word means ‘completed’), the ship will rendezvous with her consort in Kiel, this being the Protea’s first voyage into the Northern Hemisphere since 1992. The oldest ship in the South African Navy – she was built on the Clyde (Yarrow & Co) in 1972, becoming in the process the last South African Navy ship to be built in Britain - will also visit Spain.
SAS Protea is 71m in length and has a beam of 15m (14.94m for the purists). Displacing 1,930 tons standard or 2,750t fully loaded the little ship is capable of 16.5 knots and has a range of 12,000 n.miles at 12kn while using two of her four engines. The ship is lightly armed with a pair of 20mm guns and two 12.7mm Browning machine guns. She was designed for carrying a single Alouette III helicopter.
As SAS Protea left South African shores other ships of the navy, together with four visiting ships from Germany and an assortment of South African and German aircraft are taking part in one of the largest naval exercises held off the Cape coast, which is to continue for another two weeks.
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