008 South African Navy Festival – a pictorial impression

2008 South African Navy Festival – a pictorial impression

Mar 24, 2008
Author: P&S

The annual SA Navy Festival was held in Simon’s Town between 14 – 16 March and from all accounts was greatly successful, with good attendances by the public and even the weather putting on its best behaviour.

On display were ships and the men and women of the South African Navy and from four visiting ships of the German Navy, which had just completed a month-long naval exercise with the SAN off the Cape coast.

The following ships were on display – information courtesy Dylan Knott and sa_transport@yahoogroups

Ships open to the public:

F211 FGS Köln, frigate
F220 FGS Hamburg, frigate
P1565 SAS Isaac Dyobha, strikecraft.
P1567 SAS Galashewe, strikecraft.
M1499 SAS Umkomaas, River class mine countermeasure vessel
F145 SAS Amatola Valour class frigate
F146 SAS Isandlwana Valour class frigate
Lilian Ngoyi - MCM patrol vessel (sea fisheries)
A1411 FGS Berlin, combat support ship
S101 SAS Manthatisi, Meko class submarine
Umalusi - tug
Harbour lighter.

Ships not open to the public:

A1435 FGS Westerwald, combat support ship
A301 SAS Drakensberg, combat support ship - Oryx helicopter operational.
Diesel launches 2 & 4.
2 x small tugs.
NSRI R10 & 10a.


F148 SAS Mendi, Valour class frigate


P1563 - strikecraft.
S102 SAS Charlotte Maxeke, Meko class submarine.
De Neys, tug.
De Mist (shed), tug
SAS Umkhonto, Daphne class submarine.

At sea:

SAS Protea, hydrographic survey ship
SAS Spioenkop, Valour class frigate - patrolling in the bay.


P3148 SAS Fleur - awaiting disposal.
M1221 SAS Tshwane - No weapons.
M1222 SAS Mangaung - No weapons.
M1223 SAS Kapa - Looks complete.
M1225 SAS Tekwini - 40mm removed.
Ulm - Spares for M1221 - M1225.
M1213 SAS Umgeni - Stripped.
P1569 - Still armed with 76mm and 20mm cannon.
P1568 - Stripped.
P1564? - Stripped.
SAS Assegaai – Daphne class submarine - casing missing quarterdeck.


M1212 SAS Umhloti - 20mm cannon removed.
M1142 SAS Umzimkulu - 20mm cannon removed.

Notes at random:

Only two strikecraft appear to be in service P1565 & P1567. P1569 is in reserve whilst P1563 is being stripped. All missiles removed.

Most of the River class MCM vessels have had their 20mm cannons removed.
M1213 is in reserve, M1499 in service and M1212 & M1142 are under repair.

All the City class appear to be out of service.
M1223 is in reserve but still armed and looks good, could be a temporary lay up.
The rest are laid up M1221, M1222, M1225 and Ulm.

Both type 209 (Meko class) submarines are in service.

SAS Assegaai is a museum ship and is awaiting transfer to the new Navy Museum.
SAS Umkhonto is laid up in reserve and is missing her quarterdeck casing.

The above information is courtesy Dylan Knott.


Thanks to Simon’s Town resident David Erickson, Ports & Ships is able to share a number of images from the Festival. They are not displayed here any special order but will hopefully provide something of the atmosphere of the occasion while also providing a glimpse into the working and activity of a naval base.
All pictures and captions are by David Erickson.

The ‘show’ starts in Mr Erickson’s own words:


On Saturday evening, I suddenly became aware of things flying past the window..... having got over the initial reaction that it wasn’t birds (a) because they don’t glow red, and (b) they don’t fly that fast, I hurriedly set up my camera and tripod and shot off a number of pictures at different exposures. One of these came out quite well, so I thought I’d copy it to you. It is of the ‘Night Shoot’ from the Lower North Battery at Simon’s Town. The bright yellow streaks are actually parachute flares, drifting slowly downwards in the breeze as the gunners concentrated their tracer bullet fire on them. White dots to the right are exploding shells.

On Sunday 16 March spectators on the tug Umalusi were treated to the sight of a Lynx helicopter taking off, with the tug passing the Bullnose at speed.

Moments later….

And then again…..

On the Saturday morning the SA Navy Band lead the ‘Right of Entry’ parade through the narrow streets of Simon’s Town

Another picture taken on the Saturday morning from outside the naval base, shows the bulk of the visiting German ‘Einsatzgruppenversorger’ (combat support ship) FGS Berlin looming above the SA Navy Valour Class Frigates, almost hidden behind a forest of masts at the False Bay Yacht Club moorings.

The decommissioned Strike Craft P1563 SAS Adam Kok was used to demonstrate the working of the Ship Synchro-Lift facility at intervals during the Festival. Launched at Haifa on 15 January 1978 and commissioned on 6 April of that year as SAS Frederic Creswell, P1563 was the third and final vessel of the Reshef class strike craft built in Israel. A further six ships were subsequently built in South Africa. The photo shows the vessel positioned on the lateral platform – this moves from side to side, allowing the craft to be located in either one of three covered workshops or in one of the outside work areas. The platform moves under electric power and is supported on around 60 railway tracks. It can take vessels of up to about 2,000 tonnes overall weight.

The diesel powered tractor unit has now pushed P1563 along the tracks off the lateral platform, across the concrete apron and on to the Synchro-Lift platform. From left to right, the other vessels are the harbour tug De Neys, the decommissioned ‘Daphne’ class patrol submarine S98 Assegaai, strike craft P1563, the new Meko class 209 submarine S102 SAS Charlotte Maxeke and a small catamaran-hulled patrol vessel.

Strike craft P1563’s propellers.

Under the control of the Docking Master, the Synchro-Lift platform is lowered by 24 electrically-powered winches. Each winch has a load cell to ensure that the weight is equally shared.


The Selborne Drydock had flooding displays at intervals during the Festival. The dock is 231 m long, 36.58 m wide, and 13.7 m deep. When full, it holds 99 million litres. The dock takes 1½ hours to flood, and 4 hours to pump out, using 2x 350 kilowatt electric submersible pumps. The first ship was drydocked in 1910.

The immaculate Pump House. The pumps closest to the camera are used to supply ships in the drydock with seawater for refrigeration, air conditioning and fire fighting.

How the Pump House looked in the days of steam reciprocating power. Those engines were in service for fifty years.

A Scottish Pipe Band on parade outside the Pump House.

The Selborne Drydock with the Valour class frigate F148, SAS Mendi and the early 1900’s workshops.


Around a dozen mostly historic cannon were on display, and fired at intervals. This one is a 9-pounder, cast in England between 1765 and 1777.

The visiting German Frigate F211, FGS Köln.

Aboard the frigate FGS Köln – the forward OTO-Melara 76 mm dual-purpose gun.

The base’s model workshop had many fine craft on display and in action.

Personal transport for divers with the bends – but not for the claustrophobic!

There were many arena events; the dog handling displays were very popular (the dogs always got their man).


The dockyard generating station was open to view, and included some fascinating relics such as this mercury arc rectifier, manufactured in 1910 and used for converting 440 volts A.C. to 440 volts D.C. – it was only taken out of commission in 1992. Four diesel alternators provide 6800 KVA at 11,000 V, 50 Hz to power the dockyard during outages or load-shedding.


The Meko submarine S101, SAS Manthatisi, the first of three new Class 209 Type 1400 diesel-electric submarines. Manthatisi is also the first naval submarine in the world to be brought into a new class by the International Classification Society, Germanischer Lloyd.


A local band from Ocean View provided entertainment for those queuing for the submarine and tugboat rides.

Aboard the visiting German Frigate F220, FGS Hamburg – the navigating bridge.

Seen from below the decommissioned ‘Daphne’ class submarine, the tug Umalusi prepares to take on board a crowd of excited schoolchildren and adults for a harbour tour; behind her is FGS Hamburg and in the left background, FGS Berlin.

FGS Hamburg in profile.

South African Valour Class Frigate F145, SAS Amatola with the visiting German Combat Support vessel A1411 Berlin to the left.

Aboard the FGS Berlin, where easily demountable modules (containers) and hydraulic cranes provide flexible configuration to meet changing operational needs.

Aboard the support ship FGS Berlin, the twin refuelling stations with their multiple hose arrays, heave compensators and well-located operator’s control room, are superb examples of good design.

Aboard the frigate SAS Amatola – the anchor winches and mooring systems are housed one deck below the main (weather) deck on the Valour class frigates, providing protection from the elements – another example of excellent design. This view is of the bow compartment.

The spacious navigating bridge of SAS Amatola. The helmsman sits on the small backless stool in the foreground – the ‘ship’s wheel’ is the 250mm diameter black wheel forward of the stool.

Aboard SAS Amatola, the rapid-deployment fast rescue craft is sheltered behind a lightweight material screen.

FGS Hamburg with the SA Navy Combat Support vessel A301, SAS Drakensberg in the background.

Steam technology aboard the 1944 vintage museum ship Cable Restorer.

‘Cable Restorer’ now carries a restaurant on her foredeck, which serves excellent cuisine prepared in the original galley below decks.

The visiting German Navy Transport vessel A1435, FGS Westerwald, with the South African Valour Class Frigate F147 SAS Spioenkop.

Oryx helicopter 1234 on the flight deck of the SA Navy Combat Support Vessel A301, SAS Drakensberg.

The distinctive ‘horns’ of the oldest SA Navy vessel in active service, Yard Craft 221, otherwise known as the ‘Mooring Lighter’, which dates from 1901. ‘Cable Restorer’ is in the background and F146, SAS Isandlwana to the right.

The Mooring Lighter – the navy’s oldest vessel still in service

Hauling down the Ensign at the Retreat Ceremony, which closed the three-day 2008 Navy Festival

All pictures by David Erickson


Final glimpse - FGS Köln in Simon’s Town harbour during the 2008 SA Navy Festival


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