Somalian pirates capture military ship, weapons, tanks

Friday, September 26, 2008

Map of Somalia
Image: CIA World Factbook.

Somalian pirates captured a Ukrainian military ship containing weapons, tanks, and ammunition on Thursday. The weapons seized ranged from grenade launchers to 33 Soviet tanks, the Ukrainian defense ministry told the press. 17 multi-national crewmen were also captured.

The "Faina" was making a delivery to the Kenyan government, which is a Western ally against terrorism.

The ship had taken a detour to avoid the pirate-controlled Somalian coast, which is notorious for holding ships and cargo ransom. Experts expect the pirates to ransom off the tanks, because they don't have the ability to remove or use them.

The Russian navy deployed a warship on Friday to assist Somalia in securing the coastline and re-secure the ship. According to Vladimir Vysotsky, the head of the Russian Navy, "Russian ships will not be involved in any international operations," as "they will do this job on their own."

US military spokesman Bryan Whitman reported that the US is monitoring the events closely, because of the type of cargo captured.

Canada, meanwhile, has been assisting the UN by escorting aid ships to the war-torn area since August. Canadian officials announced they would be continuing escorts for another four weeks, to the relief of about 2.4 million Somalians receiving the aid.