Thursday, October 02, 2008

Somalia: MV Faina ransom back at $20 million

The Somali standoff continues. And the government of Kenya is still loudly proclaiming their ownership of the ship's cargo. (Methinks they are starting to protest too much.) Andrew Mwangura is still under arrest for his statements that the cargo was intended for the Sudan and the Islamists are telling the pirates to burn the ship, cargo and crew to the waterline if they are not paid.

"If they do not get the money they are demanding, we call on them to either burn down the ship and its arms or sink it," Sheikh Mukhtar Robow, a spokesman for the Shabab movement, told AFP in an interview.

The other part to this saga that is of interest and that is, arms trafficking by the Ukraine.

The pirate hijacking of a Ukrainian cargo ship loaded with tanks off Somalia has refocused attention on arms-trafficking by the former Soviet republic, one of the world's 10 biggest arms exporters. Experts say Ukraine has greatly improved arms-export controls after a string of scandals but remains a potential source of weapons for pariah states and rebel groups worldwide.

Ralph Peters in "Exterminate that plague of pirates" has this to say about that:

Chartered through a Ukrainian front company, the Faina's a typical post-Soviet arms smuggler: Its cargo is manifested to the Kenyan military, but the true destination for those T-72 tanks is either Sudan's government, which is under an international arms embargo, or southern-Sudanese rebels chafing under a rickety peace deal. The Kenyans are just middlemen making a buck.
The pirates attacked the wrong ship and screwed up everything.

Naval vessels are having an impact, but it's not enough.

Lieut. Nathan Christensen, a spokesman for Combined Task Force 150, based in Bahrain, insisted the naval vessels were having an impact since setting up a safe corridor for shipping four weeks ago. "We have deterred pirate attacks - 12 in the past month - so we are having an impact," he said. "But this is an international problem and needs an international solution. It will take more than the six or seven ships we have in 6,215,971sq km (2.4 million sq ml) of sea." Mareeg.

Glad to see that Russia is doing it's part (/sarc)... and get this. According to a naval spokesman they won't be using any force when they finally do get there! Neustrashimy won't rush to fight pirates in Somalia.

The Russian Navy will not be using force against the pirates that have hijacked the Ukrainian ship Faina off the coast of Somalia so far. "Some media reports quoting unnamed sources have assumed that the missile frigate Neustrashimy crossing the Atlantic in the direction of the Mediterranean and from there to Aden Bay immediately after arrival in the area of Somalia will enter combat with the pirates who have seized the ship Faina sailing under the flag of Belize," Navy spokesman Igor Dygalo told Interfax on Wednesday. He said the claims are provocative and may harm the talks on the release of the captured crew and threatened the lives of the people kept by the pirates.