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SAS Assegaai Museum

SAS Assegaai Museum

On 10 February 1967, after nearly two years of negotiations, an order was placed with the French Government to provide three Daphne class submarines in addition to providing the training and infrastructure to run and maintain them. The first of these submarines, the SAS Maria van Riebeek (S97), was launched on 18 March 1969 - the date accepted as being the birth of the SANs submarine service. The second boat was the SAS Emily Hobhouse (S98), and the last of the three, the SAS Johanna van der Merwe (S99). In 1999 the three boats were renamed SAS Spear, SAS Umkhonto and SAS Assegaai respectively. In 2003, the SAS Spear was cut up for scrap, followed by the SAS Umkhonto in 2008 while SAS Assegaai has been preserved as a museum exhibit. Currently she is preserved as a floating museum but will be preserved ashore at the Naval Museum by 2013.

The SAS Assegaai is a decommissioned Daphne Class French built diesel-electric submarine which is now open to the public 7 days a week from 10h30 - 15h00. She is 58m long and had a complement of six officers and 45 senior and junior ratings. Fitted with 12 x 550mm torpedo tubes, she could also carry sea mines. It is amazing the technology on board that was developed by South Africans during the Apartheid era 30 yrs ago. Tickets can be purchased from HGTS Tours, the official service and transport provider to the SA Naval Museum, at Simons Town Railway Station. This is the only Submarine Museum in Africa and definitely worth visiting. Admiral Arne Soderlund and his team of ex-submariners will share their experiences with visitors during the 1 hour tour of the submarine. Photographs may be taken inside and outside the submarine.

The Assegaai museum submarine gives those who have never been on a submarine the opportunity to experience life in a submarine and its intricacies, albeit for a brief visit. All tours are conducted by experienced volunteer guides who explain life aboard as well as how the boat was run and how the systems work. The interior has been perfectly preserved and one is able to see and experience all its equipment in the cramped setting - for example, the tiny galley. One also get to experience the feeling of being in a boat underwater. An explanation is also given of how the submarine dives and how it surfaces at sea and you get to know many interesting facts about submarines. One of the more fascinating aspects being the generation of fresh air for the crew when dived.

Be warned: this vessel was designed and built as a deadly warship. She is compact and filled with machinery. She was not designed for visitors. Passages are narrow and you need to be careful where you step. Ensure that children do not fiddle with switches or equipment because some valves control water ballast systems, and high voltages are present in equipment.

As the museum is in the Naval Dockyard, access is only by a scheduled bus service from the station with a pick-up point at Jubilee Square (113 St Georges Street, Simons Town)

Booking should be done at the HGTS office at Simons Town station or the Stadco office on Jubilee Square.

For more information and bookings please contact:
Tel: +27-21-7865243
Or email: aladdin@hgtstours.com

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