…As Disabled bulk carrier towed to New York after a week’s drift***
The LADA saga continues – Russian freighter with 20 containers on board, loaded allegedly, with arms and/or explosives, as of evening Aug 26, was still anchored off Port Elizabeth, South Africa, with contradictory information flying around.
According to Russian officials and owner spokesperson, South African authorities have nothing against the ship and her transit cargo, destined for Nigeria and USA. Owner said, that all containers bound for South Africa were offloaded (at Ngqura port near Port Elizabeth on Aug 25, according to AIS records), all papers are in order. The ship could already leave South Africa, claimed owner, but crew were fined some USD 600 for undeclared souvenirs like fridge magnets and several packs of cigarettes, fine will be paid on Mon when banks open.
Latest South African updates insist that “explosives additives” found on LADA , currently arrested near Port Elizabeth, did not have a transit permit.
It seems like South African authorities may still have some objections, and may hold ship until some agreement is reached. One may only guess what’s up in there, some genuine security concerns, or an opportunity to bag a hefty fine. Monday Aug 27 will be the day of reckoning. If ship leaves South Africa on Aug 27, South African problems will be left behind, but new problems are looming ahead:
Nigerian Customs already issued a statement, saying that they know nothing about incoming dangerous cargo.
In the meantime, bulk carrier GDF SUEZ NORTH SEA was disabled and drifting since Aug 16, initial Alert:
Aug 20 Alert: GDF SUEZ NORTH SEA , IMO 9624031, dwt 55848, North Atlantic off US – NUC since Aug 16, en route from Spain to US East Coast, ETA Aug 17.
The crew failed to fix the problem by own means, and reported situation to USCG on Aug 23, owner contracted tug ATLANTIC SALVOR (IMO 7719624), towage commenced on Aug 24, on Aug 26 bulk carrier reached New York and was safely berthed. Photo USCG.
Bulk carrier GDF SUEZ NORTH SEA , IMO 9624031, dwt 55848, built 2012, flag Panama, manager ANTOKU SENPAKU CO LTD, Japan.