A 19 year old from Libya who stowed away on the SAFMARINE ship CHA CHAI launched a liferaft in Table Bay to try and get to shore. The life-raft was located East of Robben Island by the Police boat and Police Sea Borderline officers recovered the man from the life-raft befor transfering him to the Sea Rescue boat. the life-raft was returned to the CHA CHAI.Robyn Silverstone / NSRI.

Cape Town - The Libyan stowaway who boarded a Safmarine vessel in Ghana and then left the ship in Table Bay on a life raft has been sent home.

Police were surprised when early on Monday morning they approached a life raft floating near Robben Island and found the Libyan stowaway inside wearing only a pair of shorts.

Charles Mussuah, 19, told police he was from Jobey in Libya. He was mildly dehydrated after stowing away on the vessel, Cha Chai, for the four-day, 8 000km journey from Ghana to Cape Town.

Mussuah said he had cut a life raft away from the ship when it neared Cape Town as he was unsure of its destination. It remains unclear how Mussuah travelled from Libya to Ghana.

On Tuesday, Craig Maulson, Safmarine operations manager, said Mussuah was kept at the Table Bay Harbour police station until early yesterday before heading home with the Cha Chai on Tuesday.

“He was placed on board the vessel and kept under security surveillance for the duration of the voyage from Cape Town to the vessel’s next port of call in Malaysia. The necessary arrangements have been made in accordance with international regulations to repatriate him to his home country upon his arrival in Malaysia.”

Maulson said Safmarine had arranged and covered the cost of two security guards to accompany him to ensure his safety and that of the crew.

Maulson said crew members spotted Mussuah launching a life raft belonging to the ship on Sunday night.

NSRI spokesman Craig Lambinon said Transnet National Ports Authority reported a stowaway adrift at sea on a life raft east of Robben Island after 10pm on Sunday. A police boat found the raft.

On Monday, Yusuf Simons, Department of Home Affairs provincial manager, said stowaways were the responsibility of shipowners or the vessel’s captain.

Police spokesman Frederick van Wyk said immigration officials interviewed him on Monday.



Cape Times