German warships dock

German warships dock

TWO warships and an auxiliary vessel from the German Navy, each towering some 35 metres above water, docked in the Walvis Bay harbour on Monday.

The two frigates, Hamburg and Rheinland Pfalz, and the fleet auxiliary vessel Berlin are part of a German Navy task group heading for Cape Town for manoeuvres with the South African Navy and Air Force. Namibia is the third stopover in this four-month training session for future naval officers.The vessels departed from Wilhelmshaven, Germany, on January 11 and called on ports in the Netherlands and Spain en route to Walvis Bay.According to Task Group Commander Eckhard Boedeker, the reason for the stopover in Namibia is that Walvis Bay has the only deep-sea harbour that can accommodate vessels of such a size.He said during his last visit to Walvis Bay nine years ago, not much was happening at the harbour and he was surprised to see the significant signs of growing cargo exchange at the port.A total of about 700 crew members are on board the three vessels.Approximately 100 are women.Boedeker said, apart from medical positions, a career in the navy became possible for women some four years ago and today officer candidate crews are up to 25 per cent female.The fourth vessel that is part of the task group is the Westerwald, an auxiliary ship that stopped over at Walvis Bay two weeks ago and carried supplies and equipment for the training.The task group will leave for Cape Town on Friday, but in the meantime the crew will tour to Cape Cross and enjoy the various fun activities offered at the coast, including paragliding and sandboarding, said Boedeker.Namibia is the third stopover in this four-month training session for future naval officers.The vessels departed from Wilhelmshaven, Germany, on January 11 and called on ports in the Netherlands and Spain en route to Walvis Bay. According to Task Group Commander Eckhard Boedeker, the reason for the stopover in Namibia is that Walvis Bay has the only deep-sea harbour that can accommodate vessels of such a size.He said during his last visit to Walvis Bay nine years ago, not much was happening at the harbour and he was surprised to see the significant signs of growing cargo exchange at the port.A total of about 700 crew members are on board the three vessels.Approximately 100 are women.Boedeker said, apart from medical positions, a career in the navy became possible for women some four years ago and today officer candidate crews are up to 25 per cent female.The fourth vessel that is part of the task group is the Westerwald, an auxiliary ship that stopped over at Walvis Bay two weeks ago and carried supplies and equipment for the training.The task group will leave for Cape Town on Friday, but in the meantime the crew will tour to Cape Cross and enjoy the various fun activities offered at the coast, including paragliding and sandboarding, said Boedeker.

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