SANDF mum on piracy surge

2011-01-12 21:52

Johannesburg - The SA department of defence (DoD) on Wednesday maintained silence over numerous Somali pirate attacks in Mozambican waters.

The DoD has not commented on three confirmed piracy attacks in central Mozambique and on South Africa's involvement in anti-piracy activities in the past three weeks despite repeated media enquiries.

A fishing boat owned jointly by Mozambique and Spain was pirated on New Year's Eve 340km southwest of the Comoros Islands and close to the coast of northern Mozambican province Nampula, the European Union's Naval Force confirmed.

The trawler's 24-strong crew which counts 19 Mozambicans, two Spanish and three Indonesian nationals, are still on board the ship.

Two large ships, a Liberian oil tanker and a Panamanian bulk carrier, managed to escape attacks from two skiffs carrying six people off the coast of Quelimane in central Mozambique on Christmas eve and Christmas day.

Quelimane is around 1 000km north of South Africa.

Mozambique's 2 470km-coastline - the second longest in Africa - is largely unprotected against Somali pirates, who hijack and hold ships ransom for large sums of money.

A concentration of one of the largest international naval operations in history around Somalia in the Gulf of Aden has pushed pirates further south and east in the Indian Ocean.

Though South Africa has one of the strongest navies on the continent, the country is currently not involved in anti-piracy activities. This was because of "political reasons", South African naval force spokesperson Jaco Theunissen told Sapa earlier.


  • Warren Berkshire - 2011-01-12 23:10

    The SA Navy lack intestinal fortitude i.e. cowards.

  • Jan - 2011-01-13 01:42

    SA defence/navy do not have the ability to counter act. They gone down the tubes like the rest of SA.

  • Johno - 2011-01-13 03:33

    So why do we have a navy? Does this mean we condone piracy? Oh forgot, of course we do...

  • Arrie - 2011-01-13 04:47

    So why are you not involved Jaco, does terrorism and piracy fall under the same umbrella or are we goog friends with Somalia. In the old South Africa this coast would have been the safest coastline in the world but what more could you ecpect from a terrorist org running this country.

  • Serf Serfontein - 2011-01-13 05:23

    Political reasons because the once proud navy's infrastructure came to a standstill. They have'nt got the necessary skills and infrastructure to do any operations. So much for affirmative appointments of people who lack the skills.

  • DUNCAN GOHL - 2011-01-13 05:35

    Perhaps we don't have enough fuel for our boats?

  • Thumali - 2011-01-13 06:13

    The officers in DoD will most likely hire out some of our frigates to the pirates, corrupt as they are, it will not surprise me.

  • Thumali - 2011-01-13 06:17

    The officers in DoD will most likely hire out some of our frigates to the pirates, corrupt as they are, it will not surprise me.

  • Justin - 2011-01-13 06:26

    Glad we spent all that money on the arms deals upgrading our military capabilitY ;) Surely this would be a fabulous training experience for our sailors?

  • Wim - 2011-01-13 06:39

    Take action, with what. Besides, those people are our brothers.

  • dh - 2011-01-13 06:39

    Quiet diplomacy will surely work here - just like with Zimbabwe.

  • Ben Opperman - 2011-01-13 07:00

    Mum for a reason? You bet your money on that. First reason that comes to mind is the total inability of the SANDF to act in any emergency. We all know the reasons for that. Secondly the total lack of experience and foresight in dealing with such or any other situation for that matter. We all know the reasons for that as well. Affirmative action for one, yes? In the third instance they're probably mulling over how resolving the situation can benefit their pockets the same time. Maybe they just don't care. The goverment certainly doesn't seem to care about the big South African picture encompassing ALL the people. Some people are willing to bend over indefinitaly and some are not. They are the ones who have left the shores of Africa. It just sickens me to watch South Africa spiral downwards and making it more and more difficult to defend the country and to justify its continued existence. Maybe they were not meant to govern............

  • JC - 2011-01-13 07:24

    i think its time to check if those artillery is working.

  • PDP - 2011-01-13 07:47

    One of the strongest navies in AFRICA? Hahaha, what a joke.

  • Phoenix - 2011-01-13 07:54

    Strange that SA has one of the strongest navies on the African continent, but yet, many of the boats and ships in service are old. This country does not even have ships. The only things we have is a couple of submarines, old ones, and the biggest ship MAYBE that we have is A destroyer. SA does not have a real navy, maybe they should invest in having a better navy and air force. Then SA will have something to talk about.

      Realist - 2011-04-12 22:00

      Sorry to burst your bubble, but to enlighen you, the SA Navy has no Destroyers, but four MEKO Frigates bought from Germany a few years ago (relatively new). The Frigates were procured as Corvettes (which they never were) to probably con parliamemt. (Similar to what the Brits did a good number of years by telling Parliament that they wanted a 'Through-Deck Cruiser' while in reality the bought an Aircraft Carrier. They also have three relatively new Submarines procured at the same time. This is all common knowledge if one follows the arms deal fiasco.

  • Theunis Hamer - 2011-01-13 08:11

    They cannot interfere as they are incapable of deploying seaworthy ships because the budget was spend on salaries. Also the Lesotho incident (when they were bloodnosed) must weigh heavy on their minds.

  • Tertius - 2011-01-13 08:15

    Come now, lets use our shiny new boats we brought

  • Dam duiler - 2011-01-13 08:16

    well Im sure our esteem minister of defence believes that silent diplomacy could be an awnser... so if we say nothing the Pirates should move along up to the Namibian coast

  • Allin - 2011-01-13 08:24

    "Though South Africa has one of the strongest navies on the continent, the country is currently not involved in anti-piracy activities. This was because of "political reasons", South African naval force spokesperson Jaco Theunissen told Sapa earlier." Yeh right. Submarines without crews and batteries, and so it goes on. I doubt whether the navy can find it's way out of that derelict base called Simon's Town!

  • africangirl - 2011-01-13 08:31

    who reads these articles before they are published? "three confirmed piracy attacks in central Mozambique" seriaas

  • Kwailoh88 - 2011-01-13 08:37

    Simple explanation - They cannot mobilise their not existent navy haha ! Money all spent on parties and fun and pocket Better to ask the Zim navy to help out

  • Ian D - 2011-01-13 09:10

    They won't comment because they can't act! They do not have the means nor the will to get involved.

  • ERS - 2011-01-13 09:11

    YOU ACTUALLY NEED A CREW TO steer the navy ship in the right(or is it e-right)direction.

  • BadWes - 2011-01-13 09:24

    They cant even charge the batteries of their submarines without breaking the stuff. And the DoD is stuffed full of incompetent personnel, those who didn't make the grade to become idiotic politicians, were re-deployed to the Dod, so you can imagine the chaos in this department if the government is doing so bad!!!

  • pothole - 2011-01-13 09:37

    DoD still trying to figure out how they can cut in on the deal. Incompetant idiots.

  • George Olivier - 2011-01-13 09:49

    "political reasons" means that we are scared of offending the Mugabe's and other criminals of African decent so we just back off and watch the chaos continue.

  • graham emeric - 2011-01-13 10:08

    It is not a decision the Navy or Dod can make. The decision needs to come from the Government( The President and Foreign Affairs)

  • Long John silver - 2011-01-13 10:18

    Shiver me timbers!!! This ARrr terible news. Something must be done about these scaliwags in our shores! Yo ho ho and a bottle of Rum.

  • Clive - 2011-01-13 10:30

    My money is on the Pirates to win hans down

  • John Stoltz - 2011-01-13 10:34

    Those pirates are just exercising typical "Africa democracy" !!!

  • Beagle - 2011-01-13 10:39

    Just show you how useless the South African pirates are. Allowing those arrogant Somali pirates to roam free on our hunting grounds.

  • callan - 2011-01-13 10:48

    Eish....all that money spent on the Arms Deal....and no sailors to man the frigates!!! Only in Africa

  • Ivan - 2011-01-13 11:33

    We better not get our Navy involved! Think of the consequences if Somalian brothers hi-jack one of our brand new frigates and use that against our only seaworthy submarine in the docks! :)

  • Bucks - 2011-01-13 11:50

    More security mst b provided n more money for de soldiers

  • millerwtf - 2011-01-13 12:54

    In the Cape Town Waterfront there is a Pirate ship pleasure boat taking people out into the bay - just imagine our well trained and equipped Navy mistakes this boat for real pirates and blows it out of the water !!!

  • James - 2011-01-17 14:47

    Just wait until someone senior in the ANC gets his imported car/cigars/suit hijacked. Then we will get some action. Until then it's business as usual at the SAN Officers club.

  • Stephen Twine - 2011-02-03 00:57

    As a military member who feels it is our responsibility as the largest naval force in Africa to deploy to assist in fighting these pirates off our coasts, we need a government with some BALLS to stand up demand more money for our military budget so they can pay the people they deploy and send us out to be the soldiers we've been trained to be ... I am prepared to deploy for up to 2 mths at a time every 4 months if so required - now for parliment to take a pay cut and benefits cut so we can go do our job and use our fancy-schmancy lynx helicopters for what they were designed for with our naval corvettes - lets go shoot us some pirates !!!

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