The SAS Protea is expected to dock at the Navy base today

Durban - Two Navy vessels are expected to dock in Durban after patrolling the Northern Mozambican channel as part of Operation Copper.

The SAS Protea and SAS Galeshwe were expected to arrived at 8am on Friday. 

In a statement, Warrant officer Oupa Moraille, a spokesperson for the South African Navy said Operation Copper started in January 2011 as part of efforts to support the Mozambican Defence Force's counter piracy efforts in the Mozambican Channel. 

"Since then the mandate of the SA Navy during Operation Copper has increased to include measures aimed against drugs, arms and human trafficking, as well as illegal fishing. Both ships had members of the Mozambican Defence Force onboard for the duration of the patrols in order to conduct these measures.” 

The vessels were unique in that they operated completely independently and did not get any foreign support and did not enter any harbour during their deployment.

During operations. SAS Galeshwe would operate close to the coastline, while the SAS Protea would work further into sea thus covering a greater area than they would individually, Moraille said.

“Despite the fact that no arrests were made, this operation does send a warning to any criminal element that the SA Navy is ready to protect its territorial waters, as well as those of its neighbours. SAS PROTEA will remain in Durban for a few days to demobilize and complete any outstanding administration regarding the operation. She is expected to arrive in Simon’s Town towards the middle of August 2018.,” he said.

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