Thursday, February 5, 2009

Pirates win a round

The MV Faina

Pirates freed a Ukrainian vessel, the MV Faina, yesterday after being paid what was reportedly a $3 million ransom. The ship had been held captive since September. This ship had received considerably more attention than most pirate seized cargo ships because its cargo was discovered to be thirty-three tanks and numerous caches of different types of small arms purchased by the Kenyan government. (Various sources indicate that the Kenyan government had planned on selling the weapons to the breakaway government of southern Sudan.)

The pirates reportedly over the last several months removed as many of the small arms as they possibly could. They had no cranes nor other method for removing the tanks. The tanks, too, were likely to be far less useful to their craft, piracy, than shoulder fired rockets and grenade launchers, machine guns and their ilk.

Three million bucks and a fat load of small arms, good news for the pirates, bad news for the forces of order. Before you decide to quit your job and become a pirate, know that Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers Assistance Program, a ­Kenyan-based piracy monitoring group, said that up to 100 pirates were on-board and splitting the ransom. The ransom demand had been negotiated down from $35 million, initially.

Read a partial list of ships still held captive here.

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