CAPE TOWN, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- Two South African navy vessels have completed patrol of the Northern Mozambican Channel as part of the anti-piracy Operation Copper, South African authorities said Wednesday.
The two vessels, SAS Protea and SAS Galeshewe, will return to their naval base in Durban on Friday, the South African Navy said.
"Despite the fact that no arrests were made, this operation does send a warning to any criminal element that the SA Navy is ready to protect its territorial waters, as well as those of its neighbors," said the navy.
During the mission, the two vessels sailed more than 3,000 km to Pemba in Northern Mozambique, according to the navy.
This was the first time in many years that the South African Navy deployed two ships to the Operation Copper.
Deploying the vessels was in fulfillment of South Africa's international obligations towards the Southern African Development Community (SADC) maritime security.
The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has provided a permanent presence in the Mozambique Channel since January 2011 on Operation Copper, which is primarily an anti-piracy operation.
The mandate of the South African Navy during Operation Copper was to combat drug, arms and human trafficking, as well as illegal fishing.
Both ships had members of the Mozambican Defence Force onboard during the patrols in order to conduct these measures, said the navy.
A unique feature of the deployment was that the two ships operated completely independent from foreign support and did not enter any harbor during the three-week deployment. The ships used Pemba bay as a base from which to conduct their patrols, according to the navy.
The likelihood of a piracy incident taking place in the Mozambique Channel is probably at its highest level since 2010, the SANDF said earlier.
South Africa got involved in anti-piracy operations following a call for assistance from Mozambique.