TANZANIA Ports Authority (TPA) has arrested seven people over theft of mooring ropes from international ships that temporarily anchor at deep sea.
TPA Director General Engineer Deusdedit Kakoko told reporters in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the authority was compelled to embark on special manhunt after receiving reports of individuals involved in the theft of the ropes from ships waiting to dock at the port.
He said some felons have been approaching the vessels anchored at deep sea at night, cutting their mooring ropes, an act that not only risks the safety of the vessels, cargo and crew members but also tarnishes the good image of the port and the country, internationally.
According to Engineer Kakoko, the two thieving incidents occurred in June and September this year, involving two international shipping liners – Mv Northern Decision, which is a container ship registered and sailing under the flag of Liberia and MvMsc Kerry, also a container ship flying the flag of Panama.
He said investigations have established that the mooring ropes were sought for their strength. “These ropes are used in manufacturing fishing nets, supporting seaweed growth at sea and thatching structures,” he said.
Engineer Kakoko said safety of ships arriving in the country for any purposes, including business was TPA’s number one priority. “We have installed security cameras at our ports, including Dar es Salaam but thieves are now targeting vessels at deep sea.
This problem is also being dealt with seriously,” he said. He said in the manhunt for the perpetrators of the acts one person believed to be the mastermind was also arrested. He said the Zanzibar-based individual, whose name was not released for investigative reasons, is believed to be the customer of the ropes.
TPA boss explained that before arresting the seven suspects, a mooring rope measuring 150 metres was also recovered but with 50-metre piece missing as it was already sold out. According to Engineer Kakoko, reports of theft incidents go viral in the world, painting a bad picture on the country’s port.
He assured shipping liners of their safety as measures were already taken to avoid recurrence of the incidents. Speaking on the gold bars worth over 500m/- intercepted at the Dar es Salaam Port on the way to Zanzibar last month, Engineer Kakoko said the court case was going on.
Last month, TPA seized five bars of gold worth 507.3m/- at the port as two suspects tried to smuggle the minerals through Zanzibar.