SAMSA releases bulker involved in throwing stowaways overboard from detainment

The Panama-flagged bulk carrier Top Grace, which was detained in South Africa last month after it was found that its crew threw overboard two stowaways has been released, according to the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

The captain and the crew of the ship have pleaded guilty before the Durban Magistrates Court to the attempted murder of two stowaways in late March.

The court sentenced the captain to a total of 5 years and three months of prison or R 160,000 fine ($ 8.449) for the attempt of murder and failing to report stowaways. The sentence was suspended for five years under the condition that he is not convicted of the same offense during the suspension.

Each of the six crew members, all of the Chinese nationality, were fined R50,000 ($2,640) and have paid their fines.

The release of the vessel in Richards Bay on Thursday after SAMSA’s investigation found that any further detainment of the ship would be unwarranted…

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Captain, crew plead guilty to attempted murder of two stowaways

The captain and the crew of Panama-flagged bulk carrier MV Top Grace have pleaded guilty before the Durban Magistrates Court to the attempted murder of two stowaways in late March.

The captain of the ship also pleaded guilty to endangering life or causing injury and failure to report stowaways.

The ship left the Port of Durban on March 26 and on the following day the crew found two unknown men of Tanzanian origin on board the ship who demanded to know the ship’s destination.

According to the plea, the two men were confined into a room after refusing to wear face masks and protective gear amid the crew’s fears that they might be infected with the coronavirus.

The crew members then built a raft and ordered the two stowaways in a threatening manner to go into the raft and leave the ship. The men were given lifejackets and water. The ship pulled away once they were onboard.

The Tanzanians claimed they spent two days at sea before washing out a…

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South African Ship Registry Failing to Gather Speed

zoomIllustration; Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) is disappointed with the slow growth of the South African Ship Registry, ascribed partly to lack of common vision and understanding among state entities.

“We started the year with enthusiasm, hoping that by this time we’d maybe have 15 ships in our register…and we’d have addressed issues of tariffs. But disappointingly, we are still where we were two years ago,” SAMSA Board Member, Ms Sekabiso Molemane told maritime sector stakeholders during a regular briefing in Durban earlier this month.

She added that the ship registry development was not the only one suffering from the lack of progress due to poor support from the Government and state institutions, but also systems development at SAMSA that both the agency and industry had identified as necessary to strengthen the effective performance of the organization.

As a direc…

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S. Africa, Colombia to strengthen cooperation on safety and security of seafarers

Discussions between South Africa and Colombia to expand relationships between the two countries, as well as strengthen co-operation and collaboration on safety and security of their seafarers will continue, as the two governments announced in Colombia on September 17.

Confirmation of the cooperation between the countries on the sidelines of the IMO annual General Council Parallel Event held in Cartagena de Indias, came in the form of a joint communique established by the two countries’s ministers of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula for South Africa, and Ms Ángela María Orozco for Colombia.

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The two ministers highlighted that central to their continued discussions was the formalization through formal ratification of two cooperation instruments, a Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) and an Agreement for Mutual Recognition of Seafarers C…

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