Tristan da Cunha Shipping News: 2007 Emergency Aboard SA Agulhas
Unfolding news of developments of the murder investigation following the death of a crew member aboard the SA Agulhas during the annual Tristan Islands voyage

2007 Emergency Aboard SA Agulhas

Emergency Aboard SA Agulhas
unfolding news of developments of the murder investigation following the death of a crew member
aboard the SA Agulhas during the annual Tristan Islands voyage
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Click here to go to latest news
including the latest twist as murder charges are dropped in bizarre circumstances!

Statement from Tristan Administrator David Morley sent Friday 28th September 19.46 GMT

" On the morning of Friday 28 September 2007 the Administrator on Tristan da Cunha was made aware of an incident that led to a death on board the SA Agulhas, a South African research vessel, on Thursday 27 September 2007. This involved two South African nationals and occurred near Gough Island, part of the Tristan da Cunha group. With support from London, the Tristan Administrator ensured all necessary steps were taken and appropriate support given. The South African authorities have been informed.

" The Acting Governor on the advice of the Acting Attorney General instructed the Tristan Administrator to inform the skipper of the Agulhas that the deceased and accused will not be able to disembark on to Tristan. There are inadequate resources and facilities on Tristan, to fully safeguard the welfare and rights of such a detained person, or provide the proper and appropriate assistance. In addition given that the ship, its crew, the deceased and the accused are all of South African origin, there are complex jurisdictional issues. It was considered essential that the vessel should return to South Africa where a thorough investigation could be carried out."

" Administrator David Morley spent most of the day dealing with this, speaking on the telephone to the Attorney General in St Helena as well as the FCO in London and the Master of the Agulhas.  David learnt on Friday afternoon that the Agulhas was returning to Gough Island to continue its work there.  Later on Friday he received confirmation from the Agulhas Master that a South African naval vessel will rendezvous with the Agulhas at Gough and disembark the accused and the body of the deceased.  On Friday evening David took the opportunity presented by a social function at the Recreation Hall to brief the community on what has happened and was able to confirm that the Agulhas' return trip to Cape Town via Tristan is back on schedule."

We publish the following from a media statement issued by the South Africa Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and SMIT Amandla Marine (Pty) Ltd
on Friday 28th September :

Following a non-work related incident on board the Antarctica Supply Vessel 'S.A. Agulhas' in the early hours of this morning, we regret to advise of the death of one of the crew members, 22 year old Edward Robert Hulley. Mr Hulley served as an Ordinary Seaman (OS) aboard the 'S.A. Agulhas' and his next of kin has been informed.

The incident is currently under investigation by the South African Police Service, who have already begun preliminary investigations from Cape Town .

Saturday 29th September

It is understood that the South African environmental protection vessel, Sarah Baartman, was leaving Table Bay on Saturday 29th September to rendezvous with the SA Agulhas next week. It is expected that this will be at Gough Island and that the victim and two accused will be transferred from SA Agulhas to Sarah Baartman and then transported back to Cape Town.

Sarah Baartman was commissioned in 2005, is capable of speeds in excess of 20 knots and can carry a Super Puma/Oryx helicopter.

Monday 1st October
It is expected that SA Agulhas will be returning to Tristan da Cunha on Wednesday 3rd October to continue off-loading and that the Sarah Baartman will rendezvous with the SA Agulhas at Tristan and not Gough as earlier reports indicated.

Wednesday 3rd October - 2nd Update
Photograph from Tristan Administrator David Morley taken from outside the Government Building on Tristan da Cunha of the SA Agulhas (right) and the South African environmental protection vessel Sarah Baartman at the Tristan anchorage on the morning of Wednesday 3rd October. During this unique ship rendezvous there was a transfer of the deceased, Edward Hulley, together with one accused crew member and two others at 08.00 GMT.

The Sarah Baartman left Tristan at 09.30 GMT for the return journey to Cape Town to continue detailed investigations into this critical incident which has so shocked the Tristan da Cunha community. SA Agulhas will continue offloading, subject to weather conditions, until revised departure time on Friday 5th October.

Photograph from Claire Volkwyn taken on 3rd October 2007

Thursday 4th October
SA Agulhas completed back loading and boarded passengers at 08.00. She weighed anchor and departed for Cape Town at 11.00.
Monday 8th October - Agulhas voyage news
The SA Agulhas has been delayed and arrival in Cape Town is expected 09.00 on Wednesday 10th October.

Monday 8th October - Death Investigation Latest

South African Police announced that two sailors were arrested for allegedly stabbing their colleague to death whilst on board the SA Agulhas during the annual voyage to the Tristan da Cunha Islands.

Twenty-two-year-old Edward Hulley was allegedly stabbed by the sailors in September, whilst he was asleep.


"Police can confirm that the sailors, and Hulley's body arrived on board the ship, the Sarah Baartman, in Cape Town , on Sunday evening." said police spokesperson Captain Randall Stoffels.

"The two sailors were then arrested, and are currently being held in police cells."

It was alleged that the two sailors had an altercation with Hulley, prior to the stabbing.

The sailors were due to appear in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Tuesday 9th October.

Tuesday 9th October (Updated 21st October)

It has been confirmed in South Africa that two SA Agulhas deck hands, Maurice Cox and Antonio Adams, were charged with murder on Sunday 7th October at 6pm after being brought to Table Bay Harbour, Cape Town aboard the Sarah Baartman under a private security escort.

One of the deck hands accused of stabbing a fellow seaman aboard the SA Agulhas two weeks ago will remain in custody for another month pending his bail hearing. State prosecutor Juanita Swart told the Cape Town magistrate's court on Tuesday 9th October that the State would be opposing bail for Maurice Cox, 33, of Portlands in Mitchells Plain as he had several convictions.

Swart said Cox had stabbed Edward Hulley, 22, aboard the Antarctic supply ship, and that his co-accused, Antonio Adams, 27, of Hanover Park, was an accomplice. She said Cox had several convictions, including for assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, malicious damage to property, possession of dagger and theft.


Cox's attorney, Mario Walters, contended that some of the charges mentioned had been withdrawn against his client and that Cox would confirm his convictions to the court. Walters told the court that Cox had a fixed address and that both his mother and wife were present in court to confirm any details. He said the interest of justice permitted his release on bail as he was not a danger to the community and that he had to work to support his family. He was the father of four children.

Magistrate Jasthree Steyn ruled that a formal bail hearing was necessary. Cox was remanded and the matter postponed for a formal bail application on November 9. The State did not oppose bail for Adams and agreed with the defence that bail be set at R 1000. He is to appear in the same court on 23 January 2008.

Edward Hulley was allegedly stabbed in his sleep aboard the SA Agulhas during the night of Thursday 27th / Friday 28th September as the ship was off Gough Island, following an altercation and a late-night drinking session.

Cox and Adams were removed from the SA Agulhas and held aboard the Department of Environmental Affairs vessel Sarah Baartman following the murder last month.They were charged with murder after being brought to Table Bay Harbour on Sunday 7th October at 6pm under a private security escort. They were held in custody at the Table Bay police station until their court appearance on 9th October.

Edited version of reports in the Cape Argus and on line Cape Times on 8th / 9th October 2007

Murder Charges dropped
Following the death of seaman Edward Hulley aboard the SA Agulhas during the annual Tristan-Gough voyage in September 2008, two crew members ( Maurice Cox, aged 33, and Antonio Adams, aged 27) were arrested on alleged murder charges and awaiting court proceedings (as reported in the February 2008 Newsletter).

On 6th April 2009 the charges against Cox and accomplice Adams were withdrawn in the Cape Town Regional Court in bizarre circumstances after the docket and the investigating officer could not be traced for the court appearance.

Friends and relations of the murder victim will no doubt be aghast at the circumstances which have prevented this case coming properly before the courts for justice to be done. The Tristan community was dismayed at the turn of events, which also raises concerns about the South African legal system.

This piece is copied from the August 2009 Tristan da Cunha Newsletter which contains fuller versions of Tristan da Cunha News and separate articles that don't appear on the website.
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