1020 - 01/15 - Thefts on board in Durban Harbour - South Africa

The Club has recently been advised of thefts on board ships alongside in Durban Harbour during police searches.

It is a common practice in the port of Durban for the local police to carry out a search of a vessel including the crew cabins for drugs, pornography and illegal weapons. Usually this involves a number of police officers who search the entire vessel. After such a recent search, it was alleged by the crew that a number of mobile phones and money had been stolen and suspicion fell on the police officers who carried out the search.

The incident was reported to the port police central office and an internal police investigation is being carried out. The incident has also been reported to the Association of South African Ships Agents who were unaware of the allegation and they too are carrying out an investigation and advising their membership.

We recommend that Members with ships calling at Durban  remind their crew that they should keep their cabin’s locked at all times and that should a police search be carried out on board the vessel in Durban that a crew member is present when the particular cabin is being searched.

We would also remind Members that it is illegal to bring fire arms into the Republic of South Africa and should a vessel be carrying firearms then the vessel must apply for a permit to have such weapons on board.

It is also useful to remind crew Members that certain pornographic material is illegal in South Africa including child pornography the Club has already reported on one such case where a crew member was arrested, charged and prosecuted for being in possession of such material see LP Bulletin 672.

Members should also remind their crews that drug trafficking is a criminal offence and if any drugs are found on board a ship in South Africa, the ship can be seized and those involved arrested and prosecuted.

Source of Information

Michael Heads
Managing Director
P&I Associates (Pty) Ltd
South Africa
Tel: +27 31 301 1102


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