SAS Tafelberg

SAS "Tafelberg" was replishment ship of the South African Navy. The ship started life as the Danish tanker "Annam" before undergoing various conversions into her final configuration.

Early History

SAS "Tafelberg" started life in 1958 as the Danish tanker "Annam" in the service of the East Asiatic Company in Copenhagen. She was one of four similar ships commissioned at the time, and was named by the local Thai ambassador's daughter Vasna Virajakar. British Petroleum leased her for 5 years.

outh African Navy

She was purchased in 1965 by Safmarine before being reconfigured in Durban as the replenishment ship SAS Tafelberg and sold to the South African Navy (SAN).cite web|url=|title=History of the SA Navy|publisher=South African Navy|date=2007-11-22|accessdate=2008-06-22] At this time, she had two refuelling points and two solid stores transfer stations, as well as refuelling equipment astern and an aft light helicopter flight deck.

In 1967, in the company of SAS "President Kruger" and SAS "President Steyn", she visited Argentina, while in 1968 she visited Australia along with SAS "President Steyn" and SAS "President Pretorius".

In November 1975 at the end of Operation Savannah, she provided logistical support to the SAS "President Kruger" and "SAS President Steyn" during the Ambrizete Incident, and also subsequently went to Zaire to retrieve the guns that the army left behind in Angola.

In 1980, "Tafelberg" had a small flight deck that was fitted to the stern of the ship behind the funnel deck for use of the Wasp helicopter, but had no hangar or refueling points and was used solely for transporting persons from "Tafelberg" to the frigates and visa versa

SAS "Tafelberg" was involved in a collision in the South Atlantic with the frigate SAS "President Kruger" on 18 February 1982, during which the "President Kruger" sank with the of loss 16 lives. [cite book|title=Three Frigates - The South African Navy comes of Age|publisher=Just Done Productions|author=Rear Admiral Chris Bennett|month=June | year=2006|isbn=1-920169-02-4] .

In 1983-1984, "Tafelberg" underwent significant changes. The rear refuelling points were removed and an additional landing deck with two hangars was fitted aft. The vessel was configured to carry two Puma or Atlas Oryx helicopters, although the larger Super Frelon helicopter was also used until they were removed from service. Helicopter operations were particularly risky, for these helicopters, not being designed for marine use, were unable to apply negative pitch to their main rotors, therefore making them vulnerable to rolling off the flight deck in heavy seas.

The 1983 changes also included accommodation and messing facilities for 300 marines under the flight deck, a hospital and davits for six Delta fast landing craft.cite journal|url=|title=The South African Navy During The Years of Conflict In Southern Africa, 1966-1989|date=20 April 2007|author=Andre Wessels|accessdate=2008-05-12|publisher= [ Sabinet Online Ltd] |format=PDF] Each of these craft was able to carry and put ashore a short wheel-base Land Rover and an infantry section with all equipment.

In 1987, she went to Mauritius along with the Warrior class strike craft SAS "Jim Fouche" to assist in the recovery of debris and bodies following the crash of the "Helderberg" Boeing 747.

She participated in numerous exercises and operations during her lifespan, earning her the affectionate nickname "Mama Tafies" (Afrikaans for "Mother Tafies").

SAS "Tafelberg" was sold for scrap in 1993. The SAS "Drakensberg" has now taken over her role in the fleet.

External links

* [ East Asiac Lines: Annam] (Danish Site)
* [ Annam]
* [ 1982 Collision Damage Photo]
* [ Ships of the East Asiatic Line 1950-1959]


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