Today in Transportation History – 2002: A New Naval Vessel For South Africa

The South African Navy vessel SAS Isandlwana was launched at a shipyard in Kiel, Germany. Those participating in this ceremony included Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, South Africa’s deputy minister of defense.

SAS Isandlwana was built in Kiel by the European South African Corvette Consortium (ESACC), which consists of the German Frigate Consortium (Blohm+Voss, Thyssen Rheinstahl, and Howardtswerke Deutsche Werft); African Defence Systems; and several South African companies. SAS Isandlwana was the second of the South African Navy’s Valour-class ships to be manufactured.  Each of these ships has been named after an event of notable bravery in South African history. SAS Isandlwana was specifically named in honor of a major battle that took place in in 1879 in the vicinity of the mountain of Isandlwana in the southeastern region of South Africa. During the Battle of Isandlwana, Zulu warriors decisively defeated invading British troops and their allies.

Commander Brian Stockton, a spokesman for the South African Navy, explained that SAS Isandlwana was named after the long-ago battle to commemorate not only its victors but also those who were defeated. “The name Isandlwana . . . symbolizes the valor of those who participated in this historic battle,” said Stockton about a month after the ship was launched. He also indicated that the ship symbolizes the protection of both South African soil and the “country’s interests far from home if need be.”

Since arriving in South Africa in February 2004, SAS Isandlwana has performed a variety of duties. These duties have included search-and-rescue missions, law enforcement, the protection of marine resources, and the transport of military personnel and supplies. The vessel’s international activities have included a 2006 transatlantic voyage to South America, where she took part in military exercises with the Argentine and Brazilian navies.

For more information about SAS Isandlwana, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAS_Isandlwana.

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