There is with the Lady R-sage violates a number of provisions relating to commercial vessels mooring at South African ports.
This is one of the findings in the executive summary of the independent panel’s report that the Russian Lady R– cargo ship’s visit to South Africa.
Findings and recommendations were also made in relation to the National Committee on Conventional Arms Control (NCACC), communication between ministers and government officials, the failure to write reports and to keep the president informed of matters of national importance.
The executive summary of the report was released late Tuesday evening. Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday evening that the summary would be made public, but the full report would be kept secret as it could hamper important military operations and soldiers could lose their lives if the details of what equipment was unloaded were made public.
The panel found that there was no evidence to support the claim that the ship was transporting weapons destined for Russia from South Africa.
According to the executive summary of the report, the panel of inquiry did make recommendations regarding the future management of foreign vessels moored at South African ports. However, it was not disclosed exactly which provisions were violated or what was recommended.
One of the questions that keeps coming up regarding the Lady Ris why the ship turned off its onboard identification systems.
“The panel was informed that the vessel switched off its on-board identification systems due to the urgent circumstances of obtaining permission to moor at Simonstad, and the tracking of the vessel by foreign intelligence agencies.”
The panel determined that the goods sold by the Lady R unloaded in Simonstad was equipment for the army ordered by Krygkor and awaited since 2018. The equipment was ordered from a company based in the United Arab Emirates. The production, packaging and delivery of the equipment was delayed by, among other things, the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
It was also found that neither the army nor Krygkor the Lady R opted for delivery or had control over the process. Krygkor also apparently only determined in October 2022 that the Lady R are under American sanctions, but those sanctions were not endorsed by the United Nations and were therefore not binding on South Africa.
The Lady R was supposed to dock at the Port Elizabeth harbor but was prohibited due to the sanctions. This only became clear when the ship had already approached South African waters, and to resolve the situation it was decided that the vessel would moor at Simonstad.
“As part of standard practice in relation to this type of equipment (specifically in relation to its intended use) the goods were unloaded at night. The details of the equipment that was unloaded and its intended use were disclosed to the panel. In light of this classified information, the panel accepted the reasons for the decision to unload the equipment at night. Available evidence only confirmed the download and that nothing was loaded.”
According to the panel, in his investigation into the matter he relied heavily on letters from the president, as well as conducted interviews with 47 people, received 23 written submissions with more than 100 documents, and attended an inspection of the scene at Simonstad.
“A number of other entities and persons who publicly claimed to have information on this matter, after being invited to make submissions to the panel either failed to do so or provided no independent knowledge of the relevant facts. “