SA Navy says it will provide details of US-sanctioned Russian ship docked in Simon's Town

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  • The SA Navy said it will provide information on Friday about a sanctioned Russian-owned vessel which docked at the Simon's Town Naval Base.
  • The ship, Lady R, docked at the naval base late on Tuesday evening.
  • It is understood the vessel is en route to the port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

The SA Navy said it will only provide details on Friday about a sanctioned Russian-owned vessel that docked in Simon's Town, Cape Town.

The Russian cargo ship, sanctioned by the United States Treasury Department since the war in Ukraine, docked on Tuesday.

The mystery surrounding the ship has become a talking point in the fishing community, with locals speculating about why the vessel was docked at a military port.

While the reason for the docking was unclear, locals claimed it could be for dodgy or dubious purposes, and others speculated that the vessel may have been in distress.

But the South African National Defence Force and naval authorities remain tight-lipped about the mysterious vessel.

Asked for comment, the SA Navy said the chief of the SA Navy would be addressing the matter in Gordon's Bay on Friday after the passing-out parade for military officers. The navy said it could not give a definite time when the parade would be concluded.

READ | Radio silence from SANDF, navy amid questions on Russian ship docked at Simon's Town Naval Base

The Russian vessel, Lady R, is an 18-year-old roll-on/roll-off container carrier with a carrying gross tonnage of 7 260. She sails under the flag of the Russian Federation and her home port is listed as Astrakhan.

It's understood that the vessel arrived late on Tuesday evening, with locals reporting that the cargo had been offloaded using a crane.

The vessel is en route to the port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

Meanwhile, the Russian Consulate told News24 it had no information about the vessel.

"The captain (according to Russian Consular Statute) or owner of the vessel informs Russian Consulate about calls and stays in ports in case of emergency situations when they need assistance. If everything is fine, captain is not legally obliged to report to Russian Consulate officials about the presence of the ship. At this moment, we do not have information about Lady R's calling to Simon's Town on Tuesday evening," the consulate said on Thursday.

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

South Africa has avoided criticising Russia and abstained in several United Nations votes condemning the war.

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