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Somalia Piracy Update

Posted by on October 3, 2008

More news from the Horn of Africa region, this time from YachtPals.

piracy against yachts

East Africa – Strange happenings in both Somalia and Kenya this past week, and while they don’t all have something directly to do with yachts, they do affect all vessels near the horn of Africa. The battle for safe transit of the Gulf of Aden and the Somali coast has gotten a lot hotter, and many speculate this will not end quickly or well. However, with the recent arrest of a prominent African maritime official, there are fewer left to say anything at all.

First off, Somali pirates were reported as saying that they would kill every European on every vessel they seized, until the pirates captured on the yachts Carre D’as IV, and Le Ponant were returned. These pirates are incarcerated and awaiting trial in Paris, and were captured while escaping on foot from the Le Ponant ransom operation, and on board the Carre D’as IV.

Following this, a Ukrainian ship loaded with 33 Russian T-72 tanks, spare parts, ammo and small arms was captured by pirates, and held for an initial ransom of $35,000,000. After a US warship blockaded the freighter, the price went down to $20,000,000, and is currently dwindling below $5 million. Where were the tanks heading? Good question! Initial reports were that they were headed to Kenya, However, Andrew Mwangura of the Seafarers Assistance Programme (SAP) stated that the arms were actually going to the Sudan.

Then, Mwangura was arrested, and tossed in jail in Kenya, as what he said about the whole Sudan arms sale was considered “making an alarming statement,” which is actually against the law in Kenya. The East African SAP basically doesn’t exist without Andrew, who provides information to mariners about the region, and particularly about piracy along the Somali coast and Gulf of Aden. He has been an important contact in Africa for YachtPals, most recently trading information about the Carre D’as IV, and we hope that Andrew Mwangura is not being held for speaking the truth, nor for simply speaking his mind.

Finally, while this has been going on, Somalia publicly – if not, some say, necessarily completely officially – gave the green light for foreign contries to come and clean up the mess along the Somali coast. Of course, this was from the provisional government of Somalia, not to be confused with the semi-autonomous regional government of Puntland (where most of the Pirates are), nor the semi-autonomous regional government of Somaliland, neither of which respect the provisional government of Somalia. Then, of course, there’s the dozens of warlords with their own loyalties…

– YachtPals Crew exclusively for

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Submitted By YachtPals on 03 Oct

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