Two desperate crew on a Cambodian-flagged tanker have slipped South African inspectors a note pleading for help.
A South African report said the two Ghanaians gave the officials a message which said: “Please help us… The ship is not safe… You are our hope.”
The 5,500–dwt Hector (built 1980) is believed to have been sold for scrap into India, but never made it. It was due to be towed into Cape Town after its engines failed.
The hand-written note, in capital letters, also said: “Kindly help us go home. We are two Ghanaians on this vessel. Our salaries are not paid for three months. We need our salary and plane tickets to go home to Ghana.”
A PS added: “My hand is broken, without treatment.”
Dave Colly, of South African marine safety body Samsa, told the Independent newspaper: “The human element here is very sad. When our surveyors went on board they were slipped this grubby four by four note asking to be saved. They’re obviously scared and want to get off. They apparently have not been paid for months.”
Hector’s engines failed 10 days ago in a storm off Cape Point.
The tanker, in ballast, was en route from Ghana.
Colly added: “The vessel had been lying in Ghana for months, and the crew were trying to get her to the east unaided, probably to be sold as scrap. The lifeboats were a year out of date.
“When the anchor came up, it fell off the anchor chain it was so rusted. The question is, why do crew get on a vessel like that? It’s because there’s so much unemployment.”
The ship is listed as owned by Morrigan Shipping of the Marshall Islands.