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She's here! The newest addition to the South African Navy's fleet, SAS Amatola, has arrived off the Cape of Good Hope and will dock in Simon's Town on Tuesday.
The magnificent corvette with her sleek, radar-ducking lines, is at the end of a long delivery voyage from Germany. And her proud South African crew is ready to take her through her paces over the next few months as they prepare her for the installation of her Proudly South African combat systems.
Amatola's arrival was an important occasion for several reasons, said defence analyst Helmoed Romer Heitman, correspondent of Jane's Defence Weekly. "Firstly, her arrival signals the fact that this country is regaining its naval blue water capability.
"Secondly, it is the first concrete step towards rejuvenating an aged navy and thirdly, it will do wonders for morale in the force."
Heitman said the ship's arrival was not just important for South Africa, but also for its neighbours.
Namibia, Angola and Mozambique have been clamouring for a long time that South Africa should help them with fisheries patrols, and piracy was a rapidly expanding phenomenon that had to be countered.
Even Nigeria had been mooting joint anti-piracy patrols, Heitman said.
"Recently, the chief of the Tanzanian navy, in a discussion around the new submarines we are getting, described our new ships not only as our own assets, but assets of our neighbours too.
"We must not forget that we have an obligation under the United Nation's Law of the Sea as well as a long-distance search and rescue requirement we have not been able to realise until now."
Heitman said the ship, the first of four to be delivered by the end of next year, would come alongside on Tuesday to start her fitting-out process.
This was expected to take 18 months, but being the first arrival, it might take longer, he said.
"I know that the project team is very happy with her and that she is performing at about 10 percent above her specifications."