coast of Namibia on 18 January 2017 the SAS AMATOLA’s
programme changed from Operation CORONA (intelligence
gathering operation) to SAGA (Schadeusabwehr-gejechtsusildung)
which included Damage Control (DC) and Medical and
Boarding Training. SAGA training was scheduled to take
place between the border of South Africa and Namibia to
Rota, Spain which is approximately 3900 nautical miles.
The ship is scheduled to arrive in Spain on 02 February
2017 for rest and recuperation.
Able Seaman Nyawo conducting medical evacuation with
Sergeant Dumisani Nzimeni
SAGA is the
National German Training facility for DC training for
ships and crews of the German Navy and foreign Navies.
It focuses on the various disciplines of the internal
warfare. These disciplines are DC, Marine Engineering,
Weapon Engineering and Medical. Other areas of the
external warfare are also being covered include
Navigation, Seamanship and Air and Surface Warfare.
SAGA’s main aim is to assist SAS AMATOLA for the more
demanding Operational Sea Training called Basic
Operational Sea Training (BOST) at Flag Officer Sea
Training Royal Navy.
In order to
be prepared, SAGA aims to assist the ship to take
ownership of the training problem and solution, focus on
enabling activity to facilitate training during BOST,
use a consensual approach to training, train out common
weaknesses early and facilitate ship’s staff training
SAGA and BOST
are very relevant and important to assist navies all
over the world to reach North Atlantic Treaty
Organisation (NATO) standards. It is the most applicable
factor to be able to train naval personnel to the
highest standards and as real as possible in order to
operate any naval ship safely and efficiently.
ships company was joined by the SAGA team, consisting of
a specialist trained in DC
and Chemical Biological Radiation and Nuclear Damage
Control (CBRNDC) management, a specialist in intensive
care and emergency medicine and a specialist in force protection and boarding to assist
the ship’s company the reach its damage control
Witt said, “In my opinion, training personnel is as
important as the equipment. You can have the best and
state of the art equipment, however you need well
trained people to use this equipment to deliver
sustainable and forceful fighting capability to the
Some of the
aspects the SAGA team focused on were basic and advanced
skills in fire fighting, shoring, first aid and damage
repair. Furthermore the team will focus on battle
organisation which analyses DC training, as well as
information flow between the different command levels.
Another focus is the picture building and
decision-making process in a combat situation.
Initially SAGA was meant to be a pure DC training
facility. In the evolution, it changed its focus also to
other disciplines of the internal and external warfare,
similar to the FOST organisation. In comparison, the
SAGA organisation is more focused on the basics of the
internal battle. BOST is more focused on the fighting
functions of the ship, however there is also internal
battle training at BOST.
Witt also mentioned that so far he had a very good
experience and has never been on a South African ship
before. He continued to mention that procedures are very
similar to NATO procedures and therefore he had no
trouble to settle in. Commander Witt said he really
enjoyed the hospitality and the friendliness of the
South African sailors.