SAS SPIOENKOP in East London for the World Hydrography Day

Article and photos by Chief Petty Officer Itumeleng Zwane
20 – 25 June 2017

World hydrography Day is an international day that is celebrated and was established in 1921 for the purpose of providing a mechanism for consultation between government on such matters as technical standards, safe navigation and the protection of the marine environment.

SAS SPIOENKOP entering the East London harbour

The SA Navy celebrates World Hydrography Day annually within different ports in South Africa. This year the SA Navy deployed the SAS SPIOENKOP to the port of East London to celebrate the annual event with its community. SAS SPIOENKOP entered the East London harbour on 20 June 2017.

Captain (SAN) Charl Maritz being interviewed by Ms Babara Hollands of the Daily Dispatch Newspaper

Captain (SAN) Charl Maritz handing over a crest to the East London Port Captain, Capt Gugu Dube


Captain (SAN) Charl Maritz with Capt Gugu Dube (Port Captain) and Mr Alvin Singama (Acting Port Manager)

Rear Admiral (Junior Grade) Nomonde Gogi with Capt Gugu Dube handing over the cheque to Nyameko High School in Mdantsane, East London

On 21 June, the Officer Commanding of SAS SPOIENKOP, Captain (SAN) Charl Maritz had an interview with the Daily Dispatch, a local newspaper about the capability of the vessel and what it means for his ship’s company to take part in the World Hydrography Day celebrations. A courtesy call to the Port Captain, Capt Gugu Dube and Acting Port Manager followed on the 22 June where SAS SPIOENKOP was officially welcomed to the harbour of East London.

Rear Admiral B.K. Mhlana boarding SAS SPIOENKOP for the cocktail function

Rear Admiral B.K. Mhlana giving his address at the cocktail function onboard SAS SPIOENKOP

The SA Navy together with TNPA paid a visit to Nyameko High School in Mdantsane on 23 June, where the two departments embarked in a community outreach project in 2015 to do maintenance work at the school and provided them with a mobile container kitchen for their feeding scheme. This year a delegation led by Rear Admiral (Junior Grade) N.S. Gogi together with TNPA delegates went to hand over a R10 000 cheque to the school as a donation.

Rear Admiral B.K. Mhlana with Mr Alfred Mtsi (Speaker at Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality), Cllr Zoliswa Matana (Deputy Executive Mayor of Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality) and Capt Gugu Dube

The ship’s company of SAS SPIOENKOP conducting ceremonial sunset


Sailors and congregation awaiting the opening of the Seafarers Day service

Cpln Mkhuseli Dukwana officiating the Seafarers service

Later that evening Flag Officer Fleet (FOF), Rear Admiral B. K. Mhlana hosted the TNPA and Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality officials to a cocktail function where FOF expressed his gratitude to the Deputy Mayor of Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, Cllr Zoliswa Matana for having the SA Navy in their city.

People of the East London community eager to go on-board SAS SPIOENKOP for tours

The SA Navy also supported the bi-annual East London port festival where SAS SPIOENKOP opened for public tours. The community was much excited to be taken on tours on board the vessel despite the long queues. On 25 June the festival closed with a celebration of the International Seafarer’s Day at the main square where Chaplain M.G. Dukwana, with the ship’s company present, officiated a prayer service as a celebration of Seafarers throughout the world to acknowledge and appreciate the valuable work of Seafarers both in commercial and government fraternities.

LS Zainodean Simmers conducting tours on-board SAS SPIOENKOP