Pirates hijack ship off Kenya coast
By AGENCIES (email the author)
Posted Friday, September 26 2008 at 13:55
Pirates grabbed a Ukrainian cargo ship possibly loaded with military munitions and even tanks off the Kenyan shore on Thursday.
Three motor boats loaded with armed men intercepted the Ukrainian bulk carrier Faini in international waters off Kenya’s Indian Ocean coast, Ukrainian Foreign Ministry officials said.
The Belize-flagged vessel was carrying an authorized Ukrainian government arms shipment to Kenya including 30 type T-72 tanks, an additional number of armored personnel carriers, and munitions, according to Ukraine media reports.
Ukrainian diplomats confirmed that the vessel with 21 crew members aboard – 17 Ukrainians, 3 Russians, and one Latvian – had been captured by the pirates but declined to provide details on the ship’s cargo.
The captain contacted the ship’s owner by telephone and reported that armed men were boarding, shortly before losing communications.
Ukrainian government and commercial representatives were attempting to re-establish contact.
The pirates’ demands, if any, were not reported.