Port Elizabeth hosts commissioning of fourth SAN frigate SAS Mendi

Mar 20, 2007
Author: P&S

SAS Mendi on a visit to Durban in 2004, shortly after arriving in South Africa and minus her weapon systems. Picture Terry Hutson

SAS Mendi (F148), the last of four new Meko class frigates for the South African Navy, is to be commissioned this morning (Tuesday) at an historic function being held in Port Elizabeth.

SAS Mendi will be handed over to the navy by the builders, sub-contractors and their representatives. The ship was built in Germany and fitted out at the Simonís Town dockyard which included the armament suite and other sophisticated electronic equipment.

SAS Mendi, named for the troopship that sank in the English Channel during World War II with a large contingent of South African soldiers on board, will be based at Simonís Town along with the other three frigates.

Todayís commissioning involves the ship being handed over to Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota on behalf of the South African Government and people, after which Lekota will formally hand over the vessel to the chief of the navy, Vice Admiral Johannes Mudimu.

The defence minister will be met by a 19-gun salute fired from the frigate SAS Spioenkop (F147). The strike craft SAS Isaac Dyobha is also in Port Elizabeth for the commissioning.

SAS Mendiís commissioning at Port Elizabeth follows the commissioning of SAS Amatola (F145) in Simonís Town in February 2006, SAS Isandlwana (F146) in Durban in September 2006 and SAS Spioenkop (F147) in February 2007 in Simonís Town (see our respective reports in the Naval News section of PORTS & SHIPS).


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