Russian Cargo Vessel Arrested In South Africa Under “Weapons Of Mass Destruction” Statute For Improper Permits

Update: South African Foreign Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said during a Monday briefing that while the ship was arrested, it was carrying industrial mining explosives which were not properly permitted, according to Russian state news agency Tass along with additional reporting by News24

Earlier, the Russian embassy in Pretoria stated that South African port authorities detained the vessel on August 23 because they did not have a permit to carry industrial explosives on board.

A representative for the ship’s owner company Transflot informed TASS that the cargo is transferred in containers, and the crew obtained the permit for transportation of dangerous cargo from US officials. –Tass

And from News24: 

Department of Trade and Industry spokesperson Sidwell Medupe said that the vessel contained controlled items that were in transit and were not going to be offloaded in SA.

“The explosives additives would have required a transit permit when a vessel carrying them enters South African territorial waters. The explosives additives in question have both civilian [industrial] and military applications and are therefore controlled items,” Medupe said.

***

South African authorities at the Port of Ngqura reportedly discovered explosives aboard a Russian cargo ship last week and booked under a statute related to Weapons of Mass Destruction, according to Herald Live. The cargo was headed to Lagos, Nigeria and the United States, and was discovered following an anonymous tipoff. The ship’s owner has refuted the claim, according to Russian news agency Tass

According to an official who declined to be named, 14 of the 34 containers onboard had proper permits, while another 20 containers were found to contain allegedly illegal materials did not. A criminal investigation was opened for “allegedly flouting regulations under the Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction act” and the Explosives Act following the tipoff, reports the Herald, while the actual explosives were discovered by the nearby Port Elizabeth Explosives Unit. 

Department of Trade and Industry spokesperson Sidwell Medupe said that the vessel contained controlled items that were in transit and were not going to be offloaded in SA.

The explosives additives would have required a transit permit when a vessel carrying them enters South African territorial waters. The explosives additives in question have both civilian [industrial] and military applications and are therefore controlled items,” Medupe said.

The Russian owners of the cargo vessel told News24 that they would not comment on “fake news“.

Transflot Ltd said in an email to News24 that all cargo delivered to the port was officially declared and all documents handed over. –News24

“The ship docked and it was established that 14 of the containers had permits for offloading in South Africa,” said an official who declined to be named, adding “After suspicions were raised, police checked the other containers and found a further 20 containers carrying explosives and components.” 

Once police discovered the illegal cargo – valued at over $700,000 USD, the Lada was placed under arrest by police and set to anchor around 9 miles offshore. 

The vessel is effectively sitting in Algoa Bay loaded with explosives,” said the official. 

A map showing the Lada’s whereabouts in the Bay 
Image: Supplied by MarineTraffic.com

SA Navy spokesperson Commander Greyling van den Berg said that the matter remained a police and customs issue unless assistance was needed from the SA National Defence Force.

We are on standby as usual and should assistance be needed, we will be alerted.

The only scenario we will get involved in is if the vessel tries to flee,” he said. –Herald

The South African Police Service (SAPS) have registered the ship’s docket under the permits section of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Act. Russia’s Tass news agency reports that the ship’s owner based in St. Petersberg has refuted reports that the vessel was arrested, and has said that it did not contain “hazardous cargo.”

The company highlighted that the “cargo aboard the vessel is legal” and that the US authorities granted a permission for its delivery to the ship owner. –Tass

(h/t Troy Ounce)

Go to Source
Author: Tyler Durden