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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Lessons learned: Stowaways enter steering gear trunk

In its latest Safety Scenario, the Swedish Club focuses on a case regarding three stowaways. Namely, the crew of a container ship that had left from Lagos discovered three people sitting on the rudder.

The incident

A container vessel had left from Lagos and the next port of call was in Malaysia. Prior to departure, the crew conducted a stowaway search as per the Ship Security Plan, finding no stowaways. The vessel then departed and after disembarkation another search was performed. Still no stowaways were found.

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The next day, the Bosun heard knocking sounds coming from the hull in the steering gear room. He informed the Master and the crew began investigating the sounds and could hear knocking coming from what they believed was the rudder trunk.

There was no access to the rudder trunk as it is space taken up by the rudd…

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