102 - 07/99 - Unlawful Detention - Cargo Claim - Bosaso - Northern Somalia

We have been dealing with a serious problem in the port of Bosaso in  Northern Somalia of which Members should be aware.

The ship concerned was carrying a cargo of bagged sugar. On completion of discharge there was an alleged shortage of 366 mt. The ship was detained by local gunmen and the main receiver based in Mombasa, a Mr Issa, who controlled the local receivers, demanded cash in exchange for her release. The sum demanded was some US$90 a ton in excess of the sugar's value. During the detention a "minister" also boarded the ship with three gunmen and demanded US$20,000 for port charges.

Rumours were spread that the British supercargo had sold the alleged shortlanded cargo at a previous port for his own profit. This further incensed the people involved caused him to fear for his safety. However, he managed to leave the ship and get to the the UN compound. Unfortunately the master was not so fortunate and he was marched off the ship by five gunmen. The "minister" also took away the crew's passports and ordered the ship off the berth.

The matter has now been resolved with no injuries, but not without the supercargo and crew fearing for their personal safety and a long delay for the vessel. Members trading to this area may face similar problems and should bear these events in mind when fixing.

Source of Information :

Kit Chan (L8)


Thomas Miller & Co Ltd