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.
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.

No plans to deport Cape stowaway

By Jason Felix Time of article published Feb 26, 2013

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Cape Town -

Police were surprised when early on Monday morning they approached a life raft floating near Robben Island and found a 19-year-old Libyan stowaway inside wearing only a pair of shorts.

The stowaway, Charles Mussuah, who told police he was from Jobey in Libya, was found mildly dehydrated after he stowed away in a ship for the four-day, 8 000km journey from Ghana to Cape Town.

Mussuah said he had cut a life raft away from the ship, the Safmarine vessel Cha Chai, when it neared Cape Town as he was unsure of its destination. And now the Department of Home Affairs says the ship’s captain, or owners, must pay to ensure that the stowaway returns to Libya.

Late on Monday, Yusuf Simons, Department of Home Affairs provincial manager, said: “Stowaways are the responsibility of the shipowners or the captain. The department won’t be using taxpayers’ money to deport stowaways.”

Safmarine media co-ordinator Veronica Bradford confirmed that the life raft came from the Cha Chai. Bradford said they are awaiting an official response from the owners in Denmark.

It remains unclear how Mussuah travelled from Libya to Ghana.

Police spokesman Frederick van Wyk said immigration officials interviewed him on Monday. Mussuah was taken into custody on Monday at around 1am and was kept at Table Bay Harbour police station.

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 night.

The sea rescue duty crew launched their sea rescue craft, “Spirit of Vodacom”, and the SA Police Service Sea Borderline Unit also responded.

“It was reported that the Safmarine ship Chai Chai, lying at anchor at 4 Buoy in Table Bay, waiting at anchor to enter the port of Table Bay, had noticed an unidentified man launching a life raft from their ship,”Lambinon said.

“The life raft was launched by Mussuah, but he was drifting towards Robben Island and the ship members requested help from the National Ports Authority,” Lambinon said.

He said a search was launched in what were “full moon, good sea conditions”. A police boat found the raft east of Robben Island.

“Mussuah, who speaks good English, told NSRI rescuers that he was from Jobey, in Libya, and that he had boarded the ship in Ghana as a stowaway.

“He claimed that he was not aware where the ship was headed.” The life raft was returned to the ship.

“The police boat escorted our rescue craft, with Mussuah on board, to our rescue base, where Netcare 911 paramedics further evaluated his condition.

“He was found to be suffering from mild dehydration.”

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