Picture: for illustration purposes

South Africa's Mini Naval Festival Cancelled Following Submarine Tragedy

Published September 23, 2023
9 months ago

The South African Mini Naval Festival, a staple event at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront, has been cancelled for this year following the fatal submarine incident onboard the SAS Manthatisi that resulted in the loss of three lives. On September 20, three marine personnel, Lieutenant Commander Gillian Elizabeth Hector, Master Warrant Officer William Masela Mathipa, and Warrant Officer Class One Mmokwapa Lucas Mojela, succumbed onboard.

South Africa is currently in a period of profound grief, with condolences overflowing for the deceased from all corners of the nation. A comprehensive investigation into the disaster is already underway. Five other submariners who survived the incident were rapidly retrieved and dispatched to the nearest health facilities.

In a significant historical note, Hector had the distinction of becoming Africa's inaugural female submarine navigator in 2020.

Approached for comment, Rear Admiral Musawenkosi Nkomonde, the Flag Officer Fleet of SA Navy, reassured the public that all necessary safety protocols were adhered to. He remarked, "Our certification entity, which we call operational sea training, had duly certified that the crew was fully trained, the captain competent, all safety measures in place, and the vessel in a state to sail.”

The dates and details about the funeral ceremonies for the deceased have not yet been made public.

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