Russian freighter with illegal arms arrested in South Africa – fake news? Not exactly.

Update: Herald Live on Aug 24 published an update on LADA mystery, insisting the ship is under arrest with ongoing investigation. As it goes, there are 34 containers with arms and explosives on board, with 14 destined for South Africa, to be offloaded in Elizabeth Port, the rest are to be transported to Lagos, Nigeria, and to USA. 14 containers bound for South Africa are legal, with all required permits.
“South African Maritime Safety Authority, has since been called in and has declared that all the “dangerous goods” on the vessel are stored correctly in terms of international law. However, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation – the Hawks – which detained the ship, remain tight-lipped on the criminal investigation.
Ministry spokesman Sidwell Medupe said on Friday morning that the MPC has been informed about a shipment of explosives additives found on-board a vessel. Medupe said there was no transit permit as required by the Act”.
https://www.heraldlive.co.za/news/2018-08-24-explosives-additives-found-on-board-bay-bomb-ship/
So maybe (or most probably) the problem lies with transit permission, or lack of it, if in fact, there’s a need to obtain such a permission, prior to calling South African ports. There were some more or less, similar incidents, related to private security team arms.
If there’s a legal problem concerning transit special permission, then the ship and the owner may found themselves in trouble, maybe serious one.

Owner and manager of Russian general cargo ship LADA refuted the news on LADA arrest on port of Elizabeth, South Africa. On Aug 23 in an interview with Russian News Agency TASS owner said, that the ship is not under arrest, nor there was any arrest. The ship is anchored at port’s outer Anchorage, waiting for a berth to offload cargo bound for Elizabeth. He slated news as “fake”, saying that the news, published by a number of media outlets, are based on a fake Twitter post.
Several South African media published the news, including News24, Herald Live and The South African:
https://www.thesouthafrican.com/russian-ship-explosives-arrested-port-elizabeth/
https://www.heraldlive.co.za/news/2018-08-23-ship-arrested-in-port-elizabeth-for-illegally-carrying-weapons-of-mass-destruction/
https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/russian-cargo-vessel-allegedly-carrying-weapons-of-mass-destruction-arrested-in-pe-20180823
their stories similar to each other. All cited the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) authorities confirming the arrest.
There are several Twitter posts related to the arrest, but not one among them seems to be the initial one.
Cape Town based South African journalists contacted Maritime Bulletin yesterday, in an attempt to find out, what’s behind this story. I gave their contacts to an investigative journalist from Novaya Gazeta, one of Russian major media outlets. Hopefully, they’ll be able to follow the story to its’ roots and either prove ship’s innocence, or otherwise.
Voytenko Mikhail
August 24, 2018

Russian general cargo ship LADA was arrested by South Africa authorities after security check on Aug 19 off Elizabeth Port. Inspection was carried out after anonymous tip-off, reporting possible arms trafficking. The ship, prior to check and arrest, off loaded 14 containers with legal cargo at Port of Ngqura, northeast of Port Elizabeth. Arms and explosives were found in 20 containers on board, allegedly illegal. Arms were destined, according to South Africa’s criminal investigative organization, The Hawks, for Lagos Nigeria and USA.
The ship sailed from Ust-Luga, Russia, Baltic sea, in May this year, visiting India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania ports prior to calling Nggura, South Africa. As of Aug 23, LADA was anchored off Port Elizabeth. Understood investigation under way.
General cargo ship LADA, IMO 9194050, dwt 4556, built 2000, flag Russia, manager TRANSFLOT LTD, S-Petersburg.

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My name is Nikolay Torkin, I’m Merchant Marine Master, presently in command of feeder container ship trading in South East Asia. My family lives in Prague, Czech Republic. Mikhail provides me with daily accidents reports, I send him information with regards to accidents and container ships.