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 - A Libyan teenager has landed in Cape Town after an incredible journey - stowing away in a ship off Ghana and deploying a life raft off the Cape coast to reach the city.

Pat van Eyssen, the National Sea Rescue Institute’s Table Bay station commander, said a stowaway adrift at sea on a life raft was reported in the vicinity of Robben Island at 10.47pm on Sunday.

The NSRI Table Bay and the police’s sea borderline unit responded.

It was reported that the Safmarine ship Chachai, lying at anchor in Table Bay, had noticed an unidentified figure launching a life raft from their ship, Van Eyssen said.

“The life raft was successfully launched by the man, but he was drifting towards Robben Island and the ship requested assistance.”

The NSRI was led to believe that the 19-year-old had deployed the life raft to reach Cape Town.

The Libyan was recovered by the NSRI crew, and although he was wearing just shorts, he was suffering only mild dehydration, said Van Eyssen.


The life raft was returned to the ship. “The police boat escorted our sea rescue craft (with the man on board) to our base and a Netcare 911 ambulance was dispatched to further evaluate the medical condition of the man. He was in a satisfactory condition, suffering only mild dehydration.”

Police took the man, who has not yet been named, into custody early on Monday morning.

The man told NSRI rescuers that he was from Jobey, in Libya, and that he had boarded the ship in Ghana as a stowaway, even though he did not know where the ship was headed.

Police were investigating and the Department of International Relations and Co-operation had also been informed, Van Eyssen said.

Cape Argus