Mozambique hosts the Standing Maritime Committee of SADC in Maputo

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, which is being hosted by the Chief of the Mozambique Navy, Rear Admiral Patrício Cancuta Yotamu, presently the Chairperson of the SMC.

Taking action on resolutions made at the 14th SMC hosted by Angola in 2008 and the 15th SMC that was hosted by Zimbabwe in 2009, it was decided to conduct multinational exercises and operations between the member states of SADC’s Navies to maintain strong diplomatic and military relations between the countries.

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 to Mozambique on 15 August 2010.  During the voyage the Navies conducted joint patrols and training exercises along the South African and Mozambique coasts.  The SAS DRAKENSBERG and SAS GALESHEWE rendezvoused with SAS SPIOENKOP this morning before entering the harbour.

The objectives that SADC countries want to achieve during these exercises are as follows:

  • To enhance and maintain the comprehensive defence capabilities of the armed forces.
  • To develop a common understanding of military interoperability and foster mutual trust, respect and co-operation between the Navies.
  • 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.
  • To bring SADC Maritime components together and translate various resolutions made at previous conferences of the SMC into action.

The SMC recognizes 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.

SADC therefore acknowledges the need for structured continental and regional collaboration to address the matters of maritime security and governance.  Such cooperation is underpinned by trust and the consolidation of the good relations between the Navies of our Region and our Continent.

The 16th SMC commenced yesterday on Wednesday 25 August 2010 with the heads of the SADC Navies and Maritime Wing Commanders discussing a number of maritime-related issues.  The SMC will close on Thursday 26 August.

There will be a demonstration to showcase the SADC military forces capabilities this afternoon, Thursday 26 August, in the Maputo harbour.  Members of the media are cordially invited to attend.  The practical demonstration will include boarding operations and diving events by members of the SADC Navies.

On Thursday evening, 26 August the High Commissioner of South Africa will host a Diplomatic Function on board the SAS SPIOENKOP and on Friday 27 August, the Mozambican Navy will host a Maritime Conference from 08h00 to 15h30 at the Maputo VIP Hotel for members of the SADC Navies.

The South African ships will be open to members of the public from 10h00 to 16h00 on Friday 27 August and Saturday 28 August.  The citizens of Maputo are cordially invited to come and visit the ships.

For further information please contact Chief Director for Public Diplomacy Mr Saul Kgomotso Molobi on +27 82 940 1647, +27 12 351 0083 or email him at molobisk@dirco.gov.za

Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation
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26 August 2010

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