Sand­ton firm linked to US ship car­ry­ing weapons

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

A SAND­TON se­cu­rity firm has been linked to an Amer­i­can cargo ship found car­ry­ing au­to­matic weapons in Richards Bay in con­tra­ven­tion of the Cus­toms and Ex­cise Act, the Hawks said yes­ter­day.

Spokesman Musa Zondi said they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing the se­cu­rity com­pany for il­le­gal ar m deal­ings but no charges had been laid.

The Hawks and the SA Rev­enue Ser­vice (Sars) bust six Amer­i­can se­cu­rity guards and the cap­tain of a cargo ship, Red­wing, for car­ry­ing weapons on Mon­day.

The ship, which docked in Richards Bay, was al­legedly fly­ing the Mar­shall Is­lands flag.

The skip­per and his crew were re­leased af­ter be­ing fined R50 000 for con­tra­ven­ing the Cus­toms and Ex­cise Act – a R20 000 fine for the cap­tain and R5 000 each for the guards.

This was crit­i­cised by the Ceasefire Cam­paign which wanted the crew charged, say­ing a fine and the re­lease of the cul­prits was a “highly in­ap­pro­pri­ate in­ter­ven­tion”.

“In­stead of ac­cept­ing an apol­ogy, fin­ing and re­leas­ing these gun-run­ners, they should have been ar­rested and the arms and the ship should have been seized,” said its spokesman Rob Thom­son.

“The il­le­gal pos­ses­sion and con­veyance of arms needs to be treated with the se­ri­ous­ness it de­serves.”

He said this showed the var­i­ous govern­ment de­part­ments were not work­ing to­gether to pre­vent the weapons trade.

The Hawks and Sars were con­duct­ing sep­a­rate in­ves­ti­ga­tions into this mat­ter.

Ac­cord­ing to Sars, the cargo ship had sailed from Mom­basa in Kenya, in wa­ters where pi­rates were found. – Sapa

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