Article and photos by Petty Officer Sthembiso Makuleni and Able Seaman Judy Baatjes

The Schadens Abwehr Gefechtsdienst Ausbilding (SAGA) training was conducted from the border of Namibia and South Africa at the Orange River. A combination of Damage Control training took place throughout the journey towards Rota, Spain. This was done in preparation for Basic Operational Sea Training (BOST). A war scenario OPERATION BLUE BOTTLE was staged on Friday, 27 January 2017 as a culmination of the SAGA training.

Fire fighting team simulate fighting a fire between decks

A certain country continued her unfounded claims on its neigbouring country‘s territory and have become more and more aggressive. Peace inititives colapsed six days ago and the United Nations withdrew three days ago. The mission of the war scenario was for SAS AMATOLA to patrol N/S in an overt posture to enforce the United Nation’s Arms Embargo.

Combat State 1 was piped at the bridge in the early hours of the morning to set up a standard of urgency. The ship’s company immediatly put on their Anti-Flash and moved to their respective emergency stations. The day consisted of numerous missile attacks, fire fighting, casualty exercises, pump and flood, the Super Lynx 300 flying exercise and boarding exercise by the Shipborne Reaction Team and action messing.

Simulation - Stretcher party carrying the casualty to the hospital on board during a casualty exercise.

The boat being launched with Petty Officer Hendrik De Wet Ryeneke on board.

The aim of action messing is to feed the ship’s company in the quickest possible time while the ship remains closed up in Combat State 1, Action Stations. This is achieved by strict control of all personnel by section leaders to ensure that 75% of the personnel remains closed up whilst the remaining 25% are being fed.

This evolution can only be achieved if there is a significant lull in the action and where the command can release the action messing teams in order to produce and serve the meal.

The Shipborne Reaction Team boarding team member Able Seaman Doctor Ramongale conducting ship boarding drills.

FLTR: Petty Officer Mokonenyana Mothupi and Liuetenant Makhaba Lehlongwa conducting communication checks during Combat State 1.


FLTR: Petty Officer Gopolang Mongale and Chief Petty Officer Sevindren Arumugam brase during the missile attack during Combat State 1.

Chief Petty Officer Eugene Pillay, Chief Petty Officer Isaac Masemola and Chief Petty Officer Keith West having a quick meal durng Combat State 1.

The ship’s company is therefore divided into four suits namely clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades, each suit had seven minutes to finish their meal and return to thier action station.

After an action-filled day the Officer Commanding of the SAS AMATOLA, Captain Francois Roux had a debrief of the day with the Command team to highlight the lessons learned from OPERATION BLUE BOTTLE which was picture building of the internal battle, defect and incident reporting.