The Transnet National Ports Authority is facing a $110m (about R1.9bn) damages claim from the owner of a ship that broke in two and sank in high seas as it left the Richards Bay harbour.

The MV Smart, a bulk carrier fully laden with coal, sank in August 2013 in high swells just outside the harbour. In a summons issued by the high court, in Durban the owner, Alpha Marine, and the underwriters say the authority was negligent in allowing the ship to sail on that day, and its pilots had negligently left the ship while it was still in the long harbour channel.

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