Robert HARNEIS -TDO- (FRANCE)- The Slava-class missile cruiser ‘Marshal Ustinov’ of the Russian Navy’s Northern Fleet has arrived at one of the world’s southernmost ports, South Africa’s Cape Town. It will take part in a joint exercise also involving China.

The cruiser and two support ships reached South Africa’s co-capital after an almost five-month, 25,500-nautical mile (47,200 km) voyage from its home base in Severomorsk. The flotilla made stops in Algeria, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Cape Verde and Equatorial Guinea, and took part in several sea exercises before reaching its South African destination on Sunday.

Local media say the military visit may coincide with a port call by another Russian ship, the civilian icebreaker Akademik Tryoshnikov, which is usually involved in Russian Antarctic research, delivering crews and supplies to stations.

The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) of China has dispatched the Type 054A frigate Weifang for the joint exercise while the South African Navy will be represented by the Valour class frigate Amatola. The MOSI maneuvers, the first ever involving the three nations, are scheduled to kick off on Monday next week and last till early December.Ahead of the first joint naval exercise between China, Russia and South Africa the main planning conference was held at SA Navy fleet headquarters in Simon’s Town.

More than 40 senior officers, including Rear Admiral Tskhui Yuzhong from the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and Rear Admiral Vladimir Zemskov from the Russian Federation Navy (RFN) were present and welcomed by South Africa’s Flag Officer Fleet (FOF), Rear Admiral Bubele Mhlana.

According to the SA Navy website the exercise goal is to develop and strengthen relations and friendly co-operation between the armed forces of the three countries. The theme, agreed by all nations involved, is “Joint actions to ensure safety of shipping and maritime economic activity”.

Mosi is the only at sea exercise the South African maritime service will take part in this year as the exercises Oxide with the French naval forces in the Indian Ocean and Good Hope, with the German Navy, have been postponed. Indications are Exercise Oxide will be staged next year with Exercise Good Hope, at present, set for 2022. The rescheduling is by mutual agreement between the countries involved.

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