The Lloyd's Maritime Intelligence Unit website on Sunday listed a ship by the same name, An Yue Jiang, as a "casualty", claiming the vessel sunk off the coast of East Africa about 11am, but offered no further details.
SA Maritime Rescue Co-ordinating Centre (MRCC) spokesperson Sarene Kloren contradicted this, saying naval intelligence sources confirmed that at 5pm on Sunday the ship was spotted steaming south past Cape St Francis - "heading towards Luanda".
'I have been updated on a regular basis'
She also said the MRCC had received no (distress) beacons "between here and Antarctica".
According to Kloren, the ship was travelling through South African territorial waters, bringing it within SA legal jurisdiction.
But this was contradicted by defence spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini, who last night claimed the navy was "tracking" the ship in international waters off the west coast of Africa.
"I have been updated on a regular basis on the ship's whereabouts. The last time I received information - this morning (Sunday) - the vessel was still heading up the west coast towards Luanda. We are keeping an eye on it," he said.
He confirmed that the navy could not arrest the ship while it was in international waters.
'The international community needs to act and it must act quickly'
Though reluctant to speculate on what steps, if any, the navy would take if the ship was found in South African waters, the defence spokesperson did say "the best legal route" would be for the ship to be served with the court order issued last week by the Durban High Court.
Amid mounting regional concern about instability and bloodshed, the 53-member African Union yesterday urged Zimbabwe to release the election results immediately, and called for restraint from all parties.
African leaders have come under international pressure to take strong action to help resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe.
"The African Union wishes to express its concern over the delay observed in the announcement of Zimbabwe's election results, which creates an atmosphere of tension.
"The African Union therefore urges competent authorities of the Republic of Zimbabwe to announce the results without any further delay, in transparency, thus contributing, inter alia, to reducing the prevailing tension."
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said yesterday that he would discuss Zimbabwe with African leaders at a UN trade and development conference in Ghana which started yesterday.
Zimbabwe's main opposition party claimed yesterday that 10 of its supporters and officials had been killed, about 300 had been arrested and more than 3 000 forced from their homes.
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC ) Secretary-General Tendai Biti told a press conference in Johannesburg on Sunday that Zimbabwe was now effectively a "war zone" and called for stern intervention from the international community to halt widescale bloodshed.
Efforts were fruitless to get official confirmation from Zimbabwe's police service of any of the figures claimed by Biti. Officials merely acknowledged "reports of deaths" and promised to investigate or professed ignorance. Biti said more than 800 homes of opposition supporters had been torched or destroyed around the country.
"Zimbabwe is now a virtual war zone," said Biti. "The international community needs to act and it must act quickly."
Earlier, the MDC, in a statement from Harare, identified four more opposition supporters stabbed to death, allegedly by marauding Zanu-PF militias last week. Tapiwa Mabunda was stabbed by ruling party supporters in Hurungwe East, Murunde Tembo in Mudzi North, Tendai Chibika in Mutoko East and Moses Bashitiyawo in Maramba Pfungwe, it said.
The party said the killings brought to 10 the number of opposition supporters killed after the March 29 election in what the government is said to call Operation Mavhoterapapi ("Where did you tick your ballot paper").
The MDC said police were turning a blind eye to the killings and attacks against opposition supporters. MDC officials visiting police stations to investigate were being arrested themselves.
The statement detailed the circumstances in which the 10 opposition supporters had been murdered. Some were shot and killed and others beaten to death. Widespread violence against opposition supporters led by the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) has been independently confirmed by civic groups such as the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and the National Constitutional Assembly.
Pictures of opposition supporters being brutalised are also being posted on various Zimbabwe-focused websites.
"The MDC is worried that the police are not taking any action, although they have been notified about the deaths and the people involved have been identified," the statement said.
The MDC said more than 300 of its officials and supporters had been arrested so far. Most have not been charged and their arrests are being linked to an unsuccessful strike the MDC tried to hold on Tuesday to force the release of presidential election results. Efforts by the MDC's lawyers to establish the basis for these arrests have been fruitless.
Witnesses interviewed in Zimbabwe on Sunday said the situation in rural areas had deteriorated rapidly.
Most had become no-go areas for the opposition. It is believed Mugabe wants to cleanse the rural areas of any opposition supporters to gain an advantage ahead of a run-off poll.
More than 200 army officials are understood to have been deployed to take charge of specific districts around the country and direct the campaign of violence against the opposition, official documents leaked to the press have confirmed. Biti said the opposition was unable to function anywhere in the country.
Both he and Tsvangirai feared arrest if they returned to Zimbabwe.