Sandton firm linked to US ship carrying weapons
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