South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) released on Thursday the Panama-flagged bulk carrier that was under detention in South Africa last month, for throwing overboard two stowaways off the Natal coast.
Recently, SAMSA informed of an ongoing investigation into an alleged throwing overboard of two people by the crew of the bulk carrier Top Grace.
Reports say the ship’s crew forcibly removed and thrown overboard the two men, both of Tanzania origin, after they were found to be stowaways.
The incident reportedly occurred on 28 March, after the MV Top Grace had sailed off the port of Durban on 28 March 2020.
Specifically, the two stowaways had allegedly boarded the vessel at Maydon Wharf in Durban, on 23 March, by climbing up the mooring ropes. They hid in the chain locker. When the crew discovered them, the ships had set sail.
The two men said they were thrown overboard with a make-shift raft, life jackets and some bottles of water. They spent two days at sea before washing out at Zinkwazi beach on the North Coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal.
Once authorities got wind of the incident, they detained the ship in Richards Bay and laid charges against the captain and six crew.
In an updated statement on Friday, SAMSA said the release of the Top Grace in Richards Bay followed a thorough investigation, including a criminal prosecution of the crew.
Following the incident, SAMSA vowed to take all possible steps necessary to prevent people abuse onboard ships sailing on South Africa’s oceans, including harsh punitive measures.