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South African authorities investigate claim stowaways abandoned at sea by Chinese bulker

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) and local police have launched an investigation after two Tanzanian nationals claim to have been abandoned at sea by the crew of 2016-built Chinese bulker Top Grace.

Seven members of the ship’s crew and the owner face charges of attempted murder as well as breaking the country’s maritime laws, SAMSA’s Vernon Keller said, according to Eyewitness News.

Two Tanzanian men boarded the vessel in Durban and hid in the chain locker. It is alleged that when discovered on the ship, while it was at sea, the pair were thrown overboard in a raft, with only life jackets and some bottles of water provided. They claim to have drifted at sea for two days before coming to shore.

“SAMSA would like to warn vessels sailing through its territorial waters that any vessels found to have transgressed South Africa’s national laws, will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” SAMSA said in a statement.

According to VesselsValue, the Top Grace is owned by China’s Fairweather Steamship.

Grant Rowles

Grant spent nine years at Informa Group based in London, Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore. He gained strong management experience in publishing, conferences and awards schemes in the shipping and legal areas, working on a number of titles including Lloyd's List. In 2009 Grant joined Seatrade responsible for the commercial development of Seatrade’s Asia products. In 2012, with Sam Chambers, he co-founded Asia Shipping Media.
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