OMS were recently called upon by a local Shipping Agency, who was unsure of how to respond to a shipowner’s urgent need. They had called for assistance with the removal of a wild monkey from their tanker, due to pass around the Cape, headed for the USA. Arriving in a foreign port, with undocumented wildlife on board, will cause no end of strife for the ship and owners.
The fact that it was a long weekend, did not help our efforts.
Firstly, catching a wild monkey, running around the deck of a tanker, would be impossible. It may have been possible to dart it, in order to tranquilise it, but that option also had severe limitations, not least being trying to secure the services of a licenced Vet with experience in darting wild animals, on a long weekend.
Finally, OMS located a wildlife trap used for capturing wild leopard, and loaded this aboard our fast Service Craft, ‘OMS Shuttle’. That evening, when the ship was passing Cape Town, we delivered the trap to the ship Off Port Limits. Our Boarding Officer set the trap, instructed the crew on how to facilitate the monkey’s capture and the Launch returned to port.
A very joyful call was received from the ship 3 hours later, informing us the monkey had been captured! We despatched our fast boat again and the loaded cage was lowered to our vessel. The crew of the ship had become attached to their unofficial passenger and insisted that we take good care of her. The ship was able to proceed on their voyage with no fear of prosecution for harbouring wild animals.
On returning to our Quay in Cape Town Harbour, the State Vet required the monkey to be placed in quarantine overnight. We transported the sealed cage to the Quarantine Centre and placed her in her allocated private ward.
The following day, we received a call from the State Vet to advise that she had passed her examinations and was transferred into the care of a designated wildlife agency. Smiles all round!