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SADC's Maritime Committee to strengthen relations

by BuaNews Online
on 26 Aug 2010
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

The Maritime Component of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is convening in Maputo to further relationships and cooperation in the region.

This coincides with the 16th meeting of the Standing Maritime Committee (SMC) of SADC.

This also follows the resolutions made at the 14th SMC hosted by Angola in 2008 and the 15th SMC hosted by Zimbabwe in 2009, where it was decided to conduct multinational exercises and operations between the member states of SADC's Navies to maintain strong diplomatic and military relations.

As part of the multinational exercises, the South African Navy has deployed the frigate SAS Spioenkop, a combat support vessel, SAS Drakensberg, an offshore patrol vessel, SAS Galeshewe, an element of the Navy Divers, the Maritime Reaction Squadron, and elements from the South African Air Force and South African Medical Health Services.

The Mozambique Navy deployed an element of their Marines alongside their South African counterparts, Zimbabwe has deployed divers, and various other states of SADC have committed military and naval personnel.

The SAS Spioenkop sailed from Simon's Town in the Western Cape to Mozambique on 15 August after which joint patrols and training exercises along the South African and Mozambican coasts were made said the department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) spokesperson Saul Kgomotso Molobi.

Enhancing and maintaining comprehensive defence capabilities of the armed forces, developing a common understanding of military interoperability and the fostering of mutual trust, respect and co-operation between the Navies are some of the objectives that the SADC countries want to achieve during these exercises.

The countries also want to upgrade operational means and methods of multi-national conventional forces by employing different types of equipment whilst conducting and exercising according to a common set of guiding principles.

"The SMC recognises that effective maritime governance is inextricably linked to the human security and sustainable development of the people of the African Continent. The value of maritime resources to the people of Africa and the vulnerabilities of our oceans and seas, both to environmental degradation, climate changes, piracy as well as other unlawful maritime acts along the African coast, is recognized," explained Molobi on Thursday.

Dirco said that SADC acknowledged the need for structured continental and regional collaboration to address the matters of maritime security and governance.

Demonstrations to show off SADC military capabilities which include boarding operations and diving events by members of the SADC Navies will happen in Mozambique this afternoon.

Additionally South Africa's high commissioner will host a diplomatic function on board the SAS Spioenkop this evening while on Friday the Mozambican Navy will host a Maritime Conference. - BuaNews

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