18 February 2013

Namibia: Mystery Disappearance of Indian Captain

Lüderitz — More than 15 crew members of an Indian vessel were detained by the police after their captain mysteriously disappeared during a stopover at Lüderitz last week.

The disappearance from Lüderitz harbor was reported last week. An investigation into the fate of the missing man has not produced any results so far and despite an abundance of theories, he remains missing.

The incident of the missing captain, known as Mohideepsingh Mahendrasingh, an Indian citizen was reported to the Karas Regional Police by the South Point Ship Agents under whose care the ship was.

Angelo Isaaks, the Head of the South Point Ship Agents confirmed that the vessel "Skua" on its way from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to Port Luis in Mauritius called at Lüderitz harbour on February 12 to fill up, get fresh water supplies and to change the crew and captain. It was towing a bulk carrier at the time.

Isaaks said they reported the missing person to the Karas Regional Police after they supplied the vessel with fuel, food and fresh water. Police boarded the "Skua" vessel after it docked 30 metres off the port of Lüderitz following the stopover.

According to Karas Regional Police Commander, Commissioner Armas Shivute, the 41-year-old man was the captain of a crew of six men who arrived from Windhoek on February 13, at 21h45 to take over from captain, Hasan Allahverdiyev of Azerbaijan.

However, the new captain advised Port Control that he and his crew could not take over the vessel, because of poor visibility until the next morning of February 13. As of 6h30 on February 13 after they boarded the vessel the crew reported the captain missing.

"The off-going captain was then advised to go back and investigate, but he too confirmed that his counterpart was nowhere to be found and we reported it to the police," said Isaaks. Shivute said the crew told the police that the captain at the time of his mysterious disappearance seemed to have been under stress and depressed.

"Preliminary investigations have been conducted on the vessel where it was docked at the coast of Lüderitz, but no suspicious information could be found at this stage," he said. "According to a witness the man seemed to have been under pressure since he was sweating profusely and chain smoking," according to eyewitness accounts by the crew.

An investigation is currently underway and a missing person file has been opened for further probing. He further ruled out any possibility of finding the body in case of drowning, since the body may have been devoured by sharks or small fish.

"If indeed a drowning took place it is very difficult to retrieve a body from the sea," he said. Meanwhile, the vessel departed on February 15, after a replacement captain was flown in from India over the weekend.

According to police records this is not the first time that someone is reported missing off the coast of Lüderitz. However, the majority of those missing are Namibians who worked as fishermen.

Between January and May 2012, four men were reported missing while working on fishing vessels off the coast of Lüderitz, according to police reports and no bodies were ever recovered during search and rescue missions.

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