Grey on grey action

If we are honest we always enjoy viewing the misfortunes of others, particularly if there are no casualties so I attach something from the “Times Live” a South African news site as a bit of a Christmas treat.

Not again! SA Navy’s supply ship damaged by its own fleet for second time

Three years ago it came under fire from one of its own, and this week the SAS Drakensberg was damaged again when a frigate ran into it in Simon’s Town harbour.
The 32-year-old fleet supply ship was tied up when the arms deal frigate SAS Spioenkop hit it on Thursday.
Both vessels sustained minor damage above the waterline, said SA Navy spokesman Commander Greyling van den Berg.
“The damage will not affect either the ship’s watertight integrity,” he said.
“The cause of the incident is to be investigated and a board of inquiry will be established to determine circumstances that led to the incident.”
Greyling said the collision happened at 3.30pm, when SAS Spioenkop was entering the harbour, guided by the naval harbour master and tugs.
SAS Spioenkop was returning from sea, where she conducted engine trials. There was a mechanical or communication system deficiency on board the frigate at a critical time when the ship was supposed to reduce speed,” he said.
“Despite valiant efforts from the tugs to reduce her speed, SAS Spioenkop collided with SAS Drakensberg , which was berthed alongside.”

In February 2016, the SAS Drakensberg became the first SA warship to come under fire in the democratic era when the naval strike craft Isaac Dyobha accidentally fired its 20mm gun at the supply ship, damaging the port deck.The incident occurred during the high-profile Armed Forces Day military exhibition at Port Elizabeth, attended by then-president Jacob Zuma and 25,000 members of the public.Naval spokesman Zamo Sithole said at the time: “A 20mm practice round was discharged from Isaac Dyobha while the ships were berthed in Port Elizabeth harbour."

The strike craft accidentally discharged its gun while trying to clear a blockage. The practice round caused a deep dent in the Drakensberg’s deck.

My dad (well, his crew) put a three-inch round through the paint locker of a destroyer, started a fire. In mitigation, they were shooting at a kamikaze at the time.

More like gray on land but … olden days in Hobart. Bet that guy regrets putting out the welcome sign.


Those people having a smoko certainly look interested.

It was white on grey, Coast Guard cutter but I was standing on deck next to “gunner” - the gunners mate when he deliberately opened fire on a group of navy sailors on another ship.

Ok, it was a line-throwing gun, but it was back when it was a gun, a modified rifle.

We came up alongside a Navy destroyer on a 378 to do a underway replenishment exercise. The routine was to first try to put a line over by hand, one of the seaman made a dramatic wind up and threw a bolo line. There is lots of relative wind between two ships headed into the seas at speed, the bolo flew all of about 20 feet before the wind swept it away.

On the deck of the Navy destroyer there were a dozen seaman waiting for our line, and when our bolo failed we could hear them laughing.

Navy sailors openly laughing at us Coasties, the gunners mate didn’t wait for orders to fire his line, he aimed up at 45 degrees to fire the line, in accordance with etc, then he lowered his aim to horizontal and pulled the trigger.

It was a funny sight to see half the Navy sailors run forward and half aft. The projectile hit the bulkhead at head level behind them all with a loud, satisfying thump.

It was a good shot and it restored our spirits.

And no “official notice” was taken, I expect?

Not that I know of. UNREP ships are less than 200 feet apart, I mean everyone heard them laughing at us.

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I heard a story once about a US vessel of some sort – can’t remember – that fired a grapefruit at a Russkiy boat that was irritating them somehow. The Russians complained through official channels, and the US folks explained – but neglected to mention that they’d dipped the grapefruit in liquid nitrogen first.

I can’t remember whether it started out with “Now this is no shit.”

In one replenishment at sea the CO hit the line across from a collision mat on top of the turret with a 3 Iron". We even got the ball back.