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'Submarine accidents not uncommon'

A local defence analyst says it’s normal for naval officers to have a bump or two.

Members of the South African Navy in Simons Town. Picture: Zamuxolo Mathayi/EWN

CAPE TOWN - A local defence analyst on Tuesday said accidents involving submarines were not uncommon.

All three of South African Navy's attack submarines are in the dry dock in Simons Town.

While two are undergoing routine maintenance, the SAS Queen Modjaji is being repaired after it hit the ocean floor during a recent exercise off the East Coast.

The Navy has launched a board of inquiry into the incident.

However, defence analyst Helmut Heitman said the South African Navy reports fewer accidents than the Royal Navy.

"Moving a large ship in water that is moving on its own is a bit of an art, more than a science. I know that most naval officers have had a bump or two and I don't think the South African Navy is any worse than any other navy and is probably better than most."

Meanwhile, the Freedom Front Plus is fuming.

They claim poor training is to blame for the SAS Queen Modjaji accident.

Member of Parliament (MP) Pieter Groenewald said the accident could have been avoided.

"There are existing safety measures and the submarine has instrumentation which warns when it is too close to the seabed. We say the commanding officer of the submarine should take responsibility and disciplinary steps should be implemented."

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