Navy mine hunter to sail after fulfilling Afcon security duty

ND Ship1~1 INLSA From left, Commander Dieter Jones, Sub-Lieutenant Prince Ratau, Able Seaman Senzekile Mchunu, Petty Officer Kelebogile Maubane and Warrant Officer II Mzwakhe Flathela are preparing to depart from Durban waters as their Afcon security operation draws to a close. Picture: Gcina Ndwalane

Wednesday night’s semi-final game at the Moses Mabhida Stadium brought down the curtain on Afcon 2013 in Durban, but also signified a departure of another kind – the navy’s SAS Umhloti is due to leave the city soon, setting sail on Saturday for Simon’s Town.

The 30-year-old mine hunter arrived at the Durban Naval Station, Salisbury Island, on January 16 to bolster security for the soccer showpiece.

Its mission was to guard against any threat from the sea in the vicinity of the stadium.

Two harbour patrol boats provided support for this and the naval force worked in conjuction with other security clusters, including the air force.

“Two or three hours before the match we had to do an underwater survey of the waters around the stadium to detect any threats to the traffic in that vicinity. After the match we had to make sure everything was still in order,” said Commander Dieter Jones.

No threat was detected, he confirmed. However, had the need arisen, SAS Umhloti was well prepared, he said.

“We have enjoyed our stay in Durban. While fans are enjoying the soccer, their safety was well guarded by us. We always put the safety of citizens first,” Jones said.

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