Pretoria: 23 August 2018
An initial inspection of a Russian vessel that was arrested near Port Elizabeth this week on suspicion that it was carrying weapons of war illegally has established that all the cargo was authorised and its stowage was in accordance with law.
This is according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) which was among South African government agencies to inspect the vessel following the allegations.
SAMSA deputy Chief Operations Officer Captain Nigel Campbell said in Port Elizabeth that on inspection of the vessel, it was established that the cargo’s paperwork was in order as well as that its stowage was legal.
Captain Campbell said: “The vessel has the correct Document of Compliance to carry dangerous goods in terms of the IMDG Code (International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code) and the Merchant Shipping (Dangerous Goods) Regulations.
“The cargo landed at the Port of Ngqura had all of the required documentation in terms of the Code and the balance of the cargo onboard has the correct documentation and is stowed as required by the Code. It appears that there are no contraventions relating to maritime issues.
“We will continue with Port Control Inspection to ensure that all else about the vessel is in order. Otherwise, in terms of its cargo and stowage, all is above board,” said Captain Campbell.
News of the arrest of the vessel broke earlier this week after, according to local media in Port Elizabeth, authorities were tipped off about a cargo stowed deep on the vessel and thought to be of illicit goods believed to be weapons of war.
On Friday, Captain Campbell said among the cargo inspected were mining explosives and other material destined for the United States, Nigeria and one or another country.
The vessel will undergo further inspections, he said.