South African frigate collides with navy supply ship

SAS Drakensberg in 2006 Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Nick Roux SAS Drakensberg in 2006

A South African Navy (SAN) frigate collided with a berthed fleet supply ship in Simon’s Town harbour at around 15:30 local time on December 13.

Both the frigate SAS Spioenkop and the fleet replenisher SAS Drakensberg (pictured) sustained minor damage above the waterline, a navy spokesperson said.

Spioenkop reportedly experienced a “mechanical or communication system deficiency” as it was navigating the harbour, leading to its failure to reduce speed while being guided by tugs. This then caused it to strike Drakensberg.

The vessels’ watertight integrity has not been compromised and both are expected to return to service after a brief period of minor repairs as the cause of the incident is being investigated.

This is the second incident involving Drakensberg and another SAN vessel. The first incident occurred in February 2016, when the offshore patrol vessel SAS Isaac Dyobha accidentally opened fire on Drakensberg with its 20-millimetre cannon.

Although Isaac Dyobha’s cannon had only fired an inert practice round, the impact was able to leave a deep dent in Drakensberg’s port deck.

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