Gun Scare

South African authorities are increasingly concerned about weapons left on board merchant ships while in the country’s ports.

Owners or managers must apply to the South African Police Service (SAPS) for a permit for ships to enter ports with weapons on board 21 days before the vessel’s arrival.

Failure to comply can result in the arrest of the master, as has happened in two recent cases, it is reported.

The American P&I Club has issued an alert to its members spelling out what they must do to obtain a “gun permit”. The application must be accompanied by numerous documents.

Also when the vessel berths in South Africa, the master must arrange for the guns and any ammunition to be removed from the vessel and taken to a police locker for safekeeping. The items will be returned to the vessel one hour before departure.

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