River-class mine hunter

The River-class mine hunter is a class of ships ordered in 1978 as research vessels to be operated by the South African Navy for the Department of Transport to circumvent the arms embargo in place at the time. They were originally named Navors (Afrikaans for "research") and numbered 1 to 4[2]

SAS Umzimkulu
Class overview
Name: River class
Builders: Abeking & Rasmussen and Sandock-Austral
Operators: South African Navy
Preceded by: Ton-class minesweeper
Built: 4
Completed: 4
Active: 4
General characteristics [1]
Type: Minehunter
Displacement: 390 t (380 long tons)
Length: 48.0 m (157.5 ft)
Beam: 8.5 m (27.9 ft)
Draught: 2.5 m (8.2 ft)
  • 2 × MTU 12V TB81 diesels, 2 shaft
  • 3,367 kW (4,515 hp)
Speed: 16 kn (30 km/h; 18 mph)
Range: 2,000 nmi (3,700 km; 2,300 mi) at 13 kn (24 km/h; 15 mph)
Complement: 40

The first ship Navors I was shipped to Durban from Germany in June 1980 for fitting out, shortly followed by the second.[3] The last pair were built in Durban. The vessels were painted blue with white upperworks and formed the First Research Squadron. They were renamed in 1982 after South African rivers - (Umkomaas, Umhloti, Umgeni, Umzimkulu) but continued to fly the national flag and not the naval ensign. The prefix RV was only changed to SAS on 3 February 1988 when they were formally accepted as naval ships.[2]

Name Previous Names Pennant Commissioned[1] Notes
SAS Umkomaas RV Navors I M1499 13 January 1981 Named after the Umkomaas River
SAS Umhloti RV Navors IV M1212 15 December 1981 Named after Umhloti River close to Durban, South Africa
SAS Umgeni RV Navors II M1213 1 March 1981 Named after Umgeni River
SAS Umzimkulu RV Navors III M1142 30 October 1981 Named after Umzimkulu River

See also


  1. Saunders 2002, p. 639.
  2. Wessels, Andre. "The South African Navy during the years of conflict in Southern Africa 1966-1989" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 2, 2013. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  3. "Mine Warfare Forces". Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  • Saunders, Stephen (2002). Jane's Fighting Ships 2002–2003. Coulsdon, UK: Jane's Information Group. ISBN 0-7106-24328.
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