HMS Edinburgh Visits South Africa


With a flash of fire from her saluting gun, the Fortress of the Sea makes her ceremonial entry into the home of the South African Navy.

HMS Edinburgh sails into Simons Town where, despite being late winter it’s already warmer than the destroyer’s home base of Portsmouth (over 20˚C).

The veteran warship has completed the first half of her six-month South Atlantic deployment, which means that Edinburgh herself needs a spot of maintenance and her ship’s company need a little down time.

So the facilities at Simons Town, two dozen miles from Cape Town, are being used for the next fortnight as engineers and technicians ensure the Type 42 destroyer is in prime material condition for the exertions in the second half of her tour of duty.

That second half will see her make the 4,000-mile passage back to the Falklands (hopefully with calmer waters than her first crossing of the great ocean), and ultimately on into the Pacific for an exercise with the Chilean Navy.

For now, however, there’s the chance to enjoy the delights of the Cape – for the second time this deployment; the ship paid a short visit earlier in the year on her way south.

The more protracted spell has allowed many of the 240 sailors on board to fly friends and family out for a well-deserved reunion, while ties with the South African Armed Forces forged on Edinburgh’s first visit have been reaffirmed, largely in the sporting arena.

Indeed, the host nation has proved to be extremely accommodating so far, according to the destroyer’s Commanding Officer Cdr Paul Russell.

“The support given to HMS Edinburgh by the local community at all levels, from the use of sporting facilities and clubhouses to logistical and infrastructure assistance is a true example of the long-lasting ties that exist between the UK and South Africa.”

“It is great to be back in South Africa and in the familiar surroundings of a former Royal Naval dockyard.

“This location is ideal for our maintenance needs and hopefully we will be able to make good our recent losses on the rugby pitch as well!”

His ship has been away since May and after several visits to West Africa, Edinburgh has spent the bulk of her time around the British South Atlantic territories – the Falklands and South Georgia. She’s due back in Portsmouth in December.

Source: royalnavy, September 6, 2011;