Durban - An Italian captain died of a presumed heart attack on a tanker on Thursday, seven nautical miles off the shores of Durban.
A National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) crew and Netcare 911 responded to an emergency call from the tanker, Freight Margie.
By the time the sea rescue craft Megan II arrived at the oil products tanker, the captain had died.
NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon confirmed the master of the ship had been "declared dead by paramedics" when they reached the vessel.
He said the ship was then taken into port, where the police "could open an investigation, as it is the procedure".