Commander Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, Commodore Brian Santarpia Royal Canadian Navy, recently visited the Republic of South Africa to discuss common maritime security challenges and potential cooperation opportunities between Combined Maritime Forces and the South African National Defence Forces (SANDF).
During his visit to South Africa, Commodore Santarpia met with South African military authorities in Pretoria and Simon’s Town, including with senior personnel from Joint Operations Command and the South African Navy. Discussions focussed on maritime security interests in the Western Indian Ocean and the establishment of a meaningful mutually beneficial relationship.
In Pretoria, Commodore Santarpia met with the Deputy Chief of Joint Operations, Major General Phako, which provided an opportunity to exchange information on maritime crime and the challenges it presents, as well as discuss potential tactical level cooperation. He also received a thorough brief from senior staff regarding SANDF structure and operations, which facilitated further discussion about cooperation opportunities within in a shared area of operations off the East Coast of Africa.
“The issue of maritime crime and security is of significant concern to all nations and requires a multinational and collaborative response,” said Commodore Santarpia.
“Through sharing information and leveraging opportunities to cooperate with regional security and naval forces, collectively we can become more successful in meeting common challenges”.
While in Simon’s Town, Commodore Santarpia met with the Flag Officer Fleet, Rear Admiral Mhlana, to discuss these common challenges in the maritime environment and gain an appreciation of the South African Navy’s operational priorities. He was also fortunate to tour both the SAS Mendes and SAS Queen Modjadji, gaining a better understanding of their impressive maritime capability.
For Commodore Santarpia, the discussions were key in establishing mutual understanding and identifying shared interests:
“The South African Navy is a highly capable and professional Navy that has brought security in the Mozambique Channel through Operation Copper, and any interaction with multi-national partners off the East Coast of Africa would be mutually beneficial in contributing to future opportunities to work together, without impacting on the excellent work they are currently undertaking. I thank them for their efforts to date, as well as the outstanding hospitality they provided throughout our visit. On behalf of Combined Maritime Forces, we hope to have the opportunity to work with them in the future,” said Commodore Santarpia reflecting on his visit.