Publication: shippingscene Issued: Date: 2012-09-14 Reporter:

SAS Amatola




Date 2012-09-14
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In other navy news, the frigate SAS AMATOLA was forced to abort her planned deployment to the Mozambique Channel where she would have been engaged for three months of anti-pirate patrols after one of her main engines reportedly malfunctioned.

The frigate, which has already completed one full deployment to the Mozambique Channel was forced to return to Durban and then to Port Elizabeth before going on to Simon’s Town.

Another frigate SAA MENDI also returned from Mozambique with engine troubles at the end of her deployment last year. This ship has since entered onto a planned maintenance period including dry docking.

SAS Amatola has been operating for about three years without one of her two main diesel engines. Repairs were said to be feasible during her planned main refit when a section of her hull can be cut open to allow the removal of the damaged engine and its replacement.

In a reply to questions asked in parliament earlier this year the then Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Lindiwe Sisulu gave the following response:

‘None of the vessels, excluding the submarine SAS MANTHATISI, are presently “out of service”. They are all being managed within the approved SA Navy Maintenance and Upkeep Programme and as part of the short and medium term Force Employment Plan. All issues regarding the SAS MANTHATISI have been reported extensively and she will in due course once again provide our country with valuable service at sea, whilst the next submarine will enter a refit phase.’

SAS Manthatisi remains out of service awaiting a replacement set of batteries which will only arrive in the country later this year. She has been held in reserve since October 2007 following a much publicised incident involving a fusebox. The navy has denied that the submarine, the first to enter service with the SA Navy, was extensively damaged by the incident when the wrong fuse box was used for shore power to the submarine, but ever since she has been awaiting a battery replacement. These are said to be part of a routine battery replacement programme aimed at replacing batteries after eight years of service.

“In order to ensure that the SAS Manthatisi (S101) will be operational for a period of at least eight years on completion of the first minor overhaul, the SA Navy will procure a new battery for the submarine. Each submarine will, in turn, be fitted with a new battery on completion of their respective minor overhauls,” was the answer that Groenewald received last year to another of his parliamentary questions.

According to the navy the battery consists of 480 man-sized cells and weighs 250 tonnes. Parliament was told that a battery costs R35 million.

With acknowledgement to shippingscene.

The latest information is that SAS Manthatisi (S101) was so extensively damaged by the charging explosion and subsequent corrosion, that it will be less expensive to purchase a brand-new submarine than replace her.

But back to patrol corvettes, one can but wonder what Project Director RAdm(JG)[For No Good Reason] Jonny Kamerman and his boss VAdm Robert Simple-Anderson think about this nonsense.