Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hijacked Arms Ship Limps into Port

In follow-up to my post late last year about Piracy on the High Seas, we have this exciting news from Africa:

Hijacked Arms Ship Limps into Port

"MOMBASA, Kenya — The Ukrainian arms freighter held by pirates off Somalia’s coast for more than four months docked at port in Mombasa, Kenya, on Thursday, escorted by American and Kenyan Navy vessels and greeted by cheering crowds of thousands.

The ship experienced engine trouble on the final segment of the trip, and limped into the harbor at around 4 p.m., flanked by two tug boats.

Spectators shouted and whistled, and some even waded into the water, pumping their fists in the air as the ship blasted its horn in greeting. American Navy vessels had accompanied the ship, called the Faina, from Somalia and the Kenyan navy took over as it came into Kenyan waters.

“We are very happy to be here,” the acting captain, Victor Nikolsky, said at a welcoming ceremony in the port.

More than 100 ships have been attacked in Somalia’s pirate-infested seas in the past year, but no hijacking has attracted as much attention as this one, in large part because the freighter was loaded with arms, including tanks. It stirred fears of a new epoch of piracy and precipitated an unprecedented naval response. Warships from China, India, Italy, Russia, France, the United States, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Greece, Turkey, Britain and Germany have all since joined the antipiracy campaign..." Full article

And the I-can't-believe-he-said-it-Quote-of-the-Article:
"He said simply that the waters off the coast of Somalia had become a shopping mall” for pirates." --Alfred Mutua, Kenyan government spokesman.

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