In the early hours of Thursday 18 February 1982, SAS President Kruger, oldest of the three Type 12 Frigates of the South African Navy, collided with the replenishment vessel, SAS Tafelberg. Both ships were severely damaged but TAFELBERG returned safely to Simon?s Town. President Kruger sank approximately two hours after the collision when efforts to keep her afloat failed.
14 men from Mess 12, Chief Petty Officers J B Booysen and W M G van Tonder; Petty Officers S A Bothma, G A Brind, R C Bulterman, G W de Villiers, E Koen, H Lotter, R A McMaster, R F Skeates, H W Smit, W R Smith, M B R Whiteley and C J Wium died in the collision and their bodies went down with the ship. A further two men, Chief Petty Officer D Webb and Able Seaman G T Benjamin, lost their lives after the collision and whilst abandoning ship. Of these last named two only CPO Webb?s body was recovered after being sighted by SAS Protea on the morning of 19 February.
See the full story in Three Frigates by Rear Admiral Chris Bennett SAN (Ret)