SAS Protea

SAS Protea is a survey vessel of the South African Navy, part of the Hecla-class survey vessels[3] built for the British Royal Navy. Protea was the fifth Hecla-class vessel and was commissioned on 23 May 1972[2]

SAS Protea alongside
South Africa
Name: SAS Protea
Namesake: Protea flower
Launched: 14 July 1971
Commissioned: 23 May 1972
Homeport: Simonstown
Status: Active as of 2018
General characteristics
Class and type: Hecla-class survey vessel
Displacement: 2,750 tons
Length: 79.3 m (260.2 ft)
Beam: 15 m (49.2 ft)
Draught: 16 ft (4.9 m)
Propulsion: 4 x 12-cylinder MTU diesels geared to one shaft and controllable-pitch propeller[1]
Speed: 16 knots (30 km/h)
Range: 17,000 nmi (31,000 km) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Complement: 124, including 10 officers[2]

As of 2014, Protea remains in service.[4]


Protea is a specialist hydrographic survey vessel, although its equipment has been used in search and rescue operations using Protea's shallow water route survey system (SWRSS).[2] She is the only ship in the South African Navy that is painted white, denoting that she is not a warship.[2] Her hull is strengthened for navigation in ice and she is fitted with a transverse bow thruster unit, for increased manoeuvrability in harbour.[1]


Protea was commissioned at Scoutstoun, Glasgow and arrived in South Africa on 14 June 1972.[5]

In 1978 Protea took part in an international krill research project, becoming the first South African Navy vessel to round Cape Horn. She also acted as the guardship for the 1976 and 1979 Transatlantic Yacht races.[5]

In 1981 she was involved in Operation Kerslig, a clandestine operation to attack oil facilities in Luanda, Angola.

See also


  1. "SAS Protea". South African Navy. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
  2. Helfrich, Kim (April 30, 2013). "SAS Protea has plenty of life until replacement – Navy". Retrieved July 21, 2014.
  3. Potgieter, Thean (2012). "Guiding the seafarers : the South African Hydrographic Office and the contribution of the three Proteas" (PDF). Scientaria Militaria. 40 (3): 147–176.
  4. "Fact file: Hecla (Protea)-class hydrographic vessel". Retrieved 2013-12-06.
  5. Wessels, Andre (2006). "The SAN during the years of conflict, 1966-1989" (PDF). Journal for Contemporary History. 31 (3). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-12-02.
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