Hōkūleʻa crew sighted land from the deck of the canoe today, an historic first glimpse of the African coast. Hōkūleʻa plans to remain in the water off the coast of Mozambique’s capital city, Maputo, to avoid the potentially dangerous weather conditions currently gathering in the Mozambique Channel.
Maputo’s harbor master, port control and Hōkūleʻa’s ship agent have gone beyond their normal duties to assure that Hōkūleʻa will have a safe port in a storm. The crew is grateful that Maputo is graciously extending their hospitality, despite the fact that Hōkūleʻa will not dock in their port. While waiting out the adverse weather conditions, Hōkūleʻa will be considered a “vessel in transit” under international maritime law.
In international maritime law, a vessel in transit is defined as vessel passing through another nation’s sea without stopping, accessing land, or allowing anyone from the country to board. A vessel in transit may continue on, in motion, operating within the international laws of the sea and universal safety standards.
The U.S. Embassy in Mozambique as well as the Harbour Master of Maputo and the voyage’s ships agent have been exceptionally helpful as Hōkūleʻa continues to Richards Bay, South Africa.