SL ship crew nabbed for metal theft
Sri Lankan crew from an attached ship in Durban Harbour has been
arrested when they tried to raise R800 ‘pocket money’ by selling metal
from the ship for scrap. The 13 men arrested with the metal at the
weekend are part of the 26-member crew of the Lanka Mahapola, who say
they are owed $85 000 (R708 900) in wages.
The Lanka Mahapola was detained after the Durban High Court granted
an order for a maritime lien - the attachment of a ship as property in
lieu of a debt. The ship has been in the harbour since May 17. The crew,
which claimed to have been at sea for 20 days without electricity to
power the ship's lights, enlisted the help of the International
Transport Workers' Federation.
The arrested crew are expected to appear in the Durban Magistrate's
Court this week.
Their South African maritime lawyer, Struan Mundell, who is also
acting on behalf of the federation, said on Monday that he would argue
for the charges to be withdrawn or, failing that, for the men to be
Mundell said it was common practice for a crew to sell the metal
scraps off a ship for pocket money, once it had off-loaded its cargo.
He said he had spoken to some of the arrested men and they claimed
they had received the captain’s permission to sell the scrap, which they
had sold for R800.