WATCH | Mystery surrounds presence of US-sanctioned Russian ship in Simon's Town

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  • Mystery surrounds the presence of a Russian cargo ship, which has been sanctioned by the US, in Simon's Town,
  • The ship, Lady R, docked at Simon's Town Naval Base late on Tuesday evening.
  • It is understood the vessel is en-route to the port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

Mystery surrounds the presence of a US-sanctioned Russian cargo ship in Simon's Town, Cape Town.

The commercial vessel, Lady R, with Cyrillic letters, is understood to have sailed into the Simon's Town Naval Base on Tuesday night.

The ship was built in 2004 and is a Ro-Ro (roll-on, roll-off) vessel, meaning it is used mainly for transporting wheeled cargo.

The ship's automatic identification system (AIS), which is used to provide the positioning and information about a vessel, seemed to be offline, according to online ship monitoring services.

According to Vessel Finder, the vessel was en route to the port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, and was expected to arrive on Thursday. It was last recorded as being south of Agulhas.

Lady R, Russian Cargo ship docked in Simonstown
Lady R, Russian Cargo ship docked in Simon's Town.

After Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February, the US imposed sanctions on the country.

South Africa has avoided criticising Russia, abstaining in several UN votes to condemn the war. 

The Lady R was among dozens of Russian vessels and shipping companies that were sanctioned by the US Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.

DA spokesperson on defence Kobus Marais said: "Apparently, they needed assistance, and as part of maritime protocols we are obliged to assist. Not quite sure exactly what the problem was exactly, either engine or rudder problems."

Both the SA Navy and Department of Defence were approached for comment. This will be added once received.



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