SA Naval Chief seeks international consensus on sea piracy

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Kochi, Nov 14 (UNI) Expressing concern over the growing menace of piracy and armed robberies off the Somalian coast, South African Chief of Naval Staff Rear Admiral M H Magalefa today stressed the need to have an international consensus on the issue to ensure safety of the sea routes.

Speaking to reporters onboard frigate SAS Spioenkop, which called at the Kochi port today, RA Magalefa said '' South Africa was part of the international community and was concerned about the safety of the sea route of communication and cannot be blind and insensitive to the whole issue.'' He said the whole world should come together and look at the problems and chalk out ways and means to tackle the issue.

Reiterating the importance of the IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa) forum, he noted that the piracy issue could be discussed in this trilateral platform and later presented before the international community.

He said his country would ensure, if the need arises, the safety of the sea routes as piracy threat would hamper free movement of goods affecting trade and economic stability.

RA Magalefa also hailed the recent efforts of the Indian Navy to save a ship from the clutches of the pirates.

He also voiced concern at human trafficking which was not addressed properly.

Speaking highly of the military relations between South Africa and India, he said as a result of recent talks between the two countries around 20 South African personnel, mainly technicians, would undergo training in naval bases in India.

The mutual training would be beneficial as both the countries were using the same type of submarines in their respective Navies, he added.

The German-built warship, which started her journey on September 16, was on its deployment to visit six countries covering a more than 15,000 nautical miles.

Before coming here, the frigate visited Singapore, Shanghai in China, Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and from here the ship would be sailing to Port Louis in Mauritius on November 18 before reaching its base in Simon's Town in South Africa.

Ship Captain Christopher George Manig said the visit to the Far Eastern countries were part of South Africa's foreign policy to improve and expand bilateral relations.

During its visits, the frigate had conducted naval exercices with host Navies.

During the ship's berthing here, it would engage in naval exercises with the Indian Navy and there would be interaction between the South African and Indian naval personnel, Captain Manig said.

South African High Commissioner Francis Moloi said the visit would strengthen relations between India and South Africa and hailed India's support for the fight against apartheid.

He said the IBSA forum had brought together leading developing economies and would augur well for the future of these three countries.

UNI MA KK KP1937

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