Stowaways thrown off ship near Durban

Zinkwazi Beach, near Durban, South Africa, where the stowaways were found. Credit: Google Maps

Two Tanzanian men were rescued in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Province after being thrown from a Chinese vessel leaving Durban harbour. They were found on Zinkwazi Beach, about 80 km north of Durban, on 30 March.

The stowaways told rescuers that they were discovered by the crew shortly after the ship left the port last week. They were accused of having coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and severely assaulted. The pair was then given life jackets, bottles of water, and a makeshift raft made of crates, and forced to leave the vessel.

The men were trying to make their way to Europe and had been living in South Africa illegally, Paul Herbst, director of operations at IPSS Medical Rescue, said.

“They were treated for exposure and other concerns. They were transported to a local medical facility for further care. The South African Police Service was in attendance and standing protocols are being adhered to,” he said.

The men will be tested for COVID-19.