Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Piracy Off The Coast Of Somalia -- Roundup Of News Reports

The MV Faina seen from the USS Vella Gulf off the coast of Somalia.
Photograph: Jason Zalasky/US navy via Getty Images

Three Shot Dead In Row Between Somali Pirates
-- The Guardian

Argument between rival factions over what to do with Ukrainian ship's crew and cargo of tanks descends into deadly shootout

Three Somali pirates have been shot dead during an argument over what to do with a hijacked Ukrainian ship and its cargo of 33 tanks, a maritime group said today.

Rival factions among a group of roughly 50 pirates argued over whether to free the cargo and 20-man crew, said Andrew Mwangura, of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme.

In the most high-profile incident in a wave of hijackings off Somalia this year, the pirates seized the MV Faina six days ago and demanded $20m (£12m) in ransom.

US warships have surrounded the boat, whose capture sparked controversy over the destination of its cargo and threw a spotlight on the prolific piracy in one of the world's busiest shipping areas.

"The radicals on board do not want to listen to anyone," Mwangura, whose Kenya-based group is monitoring the saga via relatives of the crew and the pirates, told Reuters. "The moderates want to back-pedal. The Americans are close, so everyone is tense. There was a shootout and three of the pirates were shot dead."

Read more ....

More News On Piracy

Three Somali pirates die in hijacked Ukrainian vessel -- China View
Somali pirates die in Ukrainian ship shootout -- The Telegraph
US monitors arms ship seized off Somalia -- Sydney Morning Herald
Where were Russian tanks destined on ship hijacked off Somalia? -- LA Times
Somali pirates say arms shipment belongs to Sudan -- AFP
Pirates: Ukrainian ship bound for Sudan -- Press TV
For U.S. Navy, high stakes in pirate standoff -- Chicago Tribune
Somalia: Helicopter gunship joins US navy off Somalia to monitor pirates -- Somalinet
Somali pirates on arms ship celebrate Muslim feast -- AP

My Comment: It appears that this shipment was heading to Sudan, a direct violation of international sanctions. Kenya must also be complicit in this transaction because of the need to use its ports and land routes to reach Sudan. This entire situation stinks to high heaven.

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