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SOUTH Africa and Mozambique yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding to formalise a maritime pact to combat piracy in the southern Indian ocean. Minister of Defence Lindiwe Sisulu yesterday met her Mozambiquan counterpart, Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, in Pretoria yesterday to detail the pact. Secretary for Defence Mpumi Mpofu said that the South African Navy already patrols the Mozambique Channel after being asked for assistance to protect the vital route where Somali pirates attacked a commercial freighter in the channel in December — the first time the notorious pirates had ventured so far south. He said a variety of craft will be deployed by the various defence forces involved, including ships, submarines and aircraft. Minister Sisulu said about a third of the world’s crude oil is shipped through the Mozambique Channel and losses to piracy worldwide is estimated to run at between $7 billion and $12 billion (up to R81,6 billion) per year. South Africa already has similar bilateral agreements in place with Tanzania, Kenya, the Seychelles, the Comoros, Madagascar and Reunion.