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Notorious Vessel Goes Aground off South Africa

The M/V "BBC China" ran aground about 150 yards off Port Governor on the Kwa Zulu Natal Wild Coast, a marine protected area, near South Africa. A year ago, the ship was found to be carrying undocumented parts of centrifuges for building uranium enrichment plants, as it made its way to Libya. The South African authorities are concern about what the ship might be transporting. They currently know that it has 58 tons of heavy fuel oil, 60 tons of marine oil, and about 8 tons of lubrication oil. Salvagers believe that they can remove the oil and gas safely. The "BBC China" came under suspicion in early this year, after the U.S. Coast Guard was informed by a crew member that the vessel was transporting undocumented hazardous materials. The vessel was board and search by the USCG, but the ship was cleared. The "BBC China" has been mentioned in speeches by President Bush and British Secretary Jack Straw. Captain Bill Dernier of the SA Maritime Safety said that a ship with such a history should not be transiting anywhere close to protected marine areas.