DA MP Kobus Marais has stressed that questions surrounding a mysterious Russian vessel that docked at Simon's Town naval base must be answered, reports EWN.

Marais said that Defence & Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise must explain to South Africans what a sanctioned Russian ship was doing at the base last week and why the incident is shrouded by secrecy.

Marais claims the vessel allegedly switched off its online information and location identification systems. And he said that the ship should have docked at Table Bay Harbour just like other commercial vessels but instead was allowed to dock at the national key point.

‘I have received absolutely zero response from the Minister or the Chief of the SANDF. I have tried last week several times... I've written an official letter to both Minister and the Secretary of Defence.’

Marais said the vessel has since left the port and is sailing north.

Full EWN report

The Lady R is now en route to Turkey and has passed Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape, Die Burger reports.

Shortly before the GPS of the vessel was allegedly switched off before entering Simons Town, the indicated destination was still Tanzania.

Military analyst Helmoed-Römer Heitman says there are big question marks about the docking of the vessel, including the rationale for the secrecy.

He said he has learned that the off-loaded cargo from the vessel has been taken to an SANDF ammunition store in Limpopo 'and possibly contained Russian parts and ammunition which is used by the local special forces'.

Full report in Die Burger (subscription needed)