Commanding officers in the South African Navy and the German Navy taskforce on Thursday applauded one another at the end of a series of joint naval exercises on anti-piracy operations near Simons Town Naval Base.
The SAS Amatola. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
The joint exercise - Exercise Good Hope - is held every two years and this was the fifth of its kind. However, unlike those of previous years, which focused on conventional warfare, this particular exercise focused largely on anti-piracy operations.
Both the German vessel, the frigate Luebeck, and a South African corvette SAS Isandlwana, which were involved in the joint exercise, had recently been involved in anti-piracy patrols.
While the Luebeck has just come from operating off the Somalian coastline, the Isandlawana has just spent a number of months in Mozambique.
Commanding officer of the Amatola and the SA Navy's taskforce, Captain Micky Girsa, said the SA Navy had learned a lot of valuable lessons from the joint exercise.
He said the exercises were concluded without any injury and incident, which showed the professionalism that both navies had demonstrated during the exercise.
Commander of the German navy's taskforce, Captain Eike Wetters of the Luebeck, commended Girsa and his team for their professionalism.
Wetters said Girsa and his team had done most of the work leading up to the exercise, having conducted the planning, which began on 29 February.Scaled down commitment
The German navy had this year scaled down its commitment from five vessels to one vessel, but Wetters stressed that the Good Hope exercise - Germany's largest naval exercise outside the NATO alliance - would continue despite budgetary pressures.
Two observers from Malawi and Mozambique were also hosted on the Luebeck, which arrived in Simons Town on 8 March and was set to leave on Sunday.
Anti-submarine exercises, involving the Luebeck, the Isandlwana and one of the SA Navy's submarines, were also undertaken.
"First, we learned that you have very professional submariners and they gave us a very hard time trying to find them," said Wetters, alluding to a particular exercise where both the SAS Isandlwana and Luebeck were tasked with "finding" one of South Africa's submarines.
Wetters added that the 28 000 visitors that boarded the Luebeck during last week's Navy Festival in Simons Town, had been a fantastic experience.Final exercise
Thursday's final exercise, off Muizenberg in False Bay, involved the Luebeck and two of the SA navy's four corvettes, the SAS Isandlwana and SAS Amatola.
Also taking part were three helicopters - two Westland Lynx's from each navy - and an Oryx helicopter from the SA Air Force.
These were complemented by SA Navy special forces members and special forces from the SA Army and German Army.
The first part of Thursday's exercise involved a SA army taskforce on a rubber dinghy, apprehending and boarding a smaller "pirate" dinghy.
The second involved a SA Army taskforce landing on the SAS Amatola and securing the ship, before two task teams, each from the German Army and SA Army and SA Navy, boarded the corvette and made their way through the ship before apprehending two "pirates".
The SA Navy special forces and German army force left on their respective fast boats, before an Oryx helicopter hoisted the five-man crew of the SA army special forces effortlessly away in one go.