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Friday, 24 August 2018

Ship transporting weapons of mass destruction to Nigeria intercepted

Ship transporting weapons of mass destruction to Nigeria intercepted

A Russian vessel transporting “dangerous cargo” to Nigeria has been accosted outside the Port of Ngqura in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

The Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) made the announcement on Thursday.

It is suspected that the vessel had been carrying “weapons of mass destruction” and explosives valued at about R50m.

“TNPA can confirm that the vessel Lada has been arrested by the [SA Police Service] and is anchored outside the Port of Ngqura.

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“We are aware that the vessel has dangerous cargo on board,” Port of Ngqura manager Tandi Lebakeng said in an emailed reply to News24’s enquiry about the vessel.

Authorities discovered explosives aboard the vessel on Sunday while conducting operations at the port.

The TNPA confirmed that the ship named Lada was en route from Tulear, Madagascar and it was destined for Lagos, Nigeria.

“TNPA gave permission for the vessel to be detained outside the port – although still within port limits – and we will continue monitoring the vessel,” Lebakeng said.

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation’s (Hawks’) spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi told News24 that it was a “sensitive” matter.

“We are not prepared to divulge details pending a thorough assessment by different roleplayers that have been roped in to assist,” said Mulaudzi.

He said he could not yet reveal who the role players were.

“No charges have been laid against anyone and as mentioned, we are not obliged to divulge [information] until the finalisation of this process,” he added.

It has been reported that the vessel was inspected following a tip-off, after it had already offloaded 14 containers at the port.

The ship had produced all the relevant permits relating to the cargo it offloaded on South African shores. The containers were dispatched by a company named Solar India.

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