Former Samherji fisherman dies

Ester Mbathera

A fisherman, who previously worked for Samherji on a fishing vessel linked to the Fishrot corruption saga, died on Tuesday morning.

Samuel Japhet (41) died on his bed in a cabin onboard the MV Heinaste vessel which belonged to Heinaste Investment Namibia a joint venture company between Namibian rights holders and Icelandic seafood company, Samherji.

The vessel was sold to Tunacor Fishing Company in 2021 and renamed Tutungeni.

According to police reports Japhet was found by his colleagues who went to wake him up for duty at around 03:00 in the morning.

“A doctor from the same vessel was summoned to examine him. He was still not responding. He never complained of any sickness to the clinic or anyone. St.Gabriel Paramedics visited the scene and declared him dead,” reads the police report.

No foul play is suspected.

The next of kin have been informed.

Tunacor chief executive officer Peya Hitula also confirmed the incident.

“Yes, there was an unfortunate event where one employee was on the vessel which had docked at Namport, as the vessel was preparing to leave the following day he was found unconscious and non-responsive. The vessel doctor onboard was alerted and they called the emergency services but he unfortunately passed away in his sleep,” said Hitula.

Japhet is among the fishermen, who have been part of the crew of the vessel since the Fishrot scandal broke in 2019.

At some stage, the vessel was also impounded on orders based on Article 28 of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA).

Tunacor bought the vessel in December 2020 after Prosecutor-General Martha Imalwa ordered that it must be released.

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