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3 Oct, 2008 12:36

Hijacked Ukrainian vessel story to end soon?

Hijacked Ukrainian vessel story to end soon?

Andrew Mwangura, head of the Nairobi-based Seafarers Assistance Programme and one of the main sources of information onboard the hijacked Ukrainian ship 'Faina', has been arrested by local authorities because, Russian maritime bulletin Sovfracht says, he

Perhaps the Somalia authorities want to present Mwangura as a pirate-connected source, but the best source of information on the Somali coast has been silenced. It’s worth mentioning that Mwangura is the person Iran still wants to sue for details exposure on the Iranian cargo ship 'Iran Deyanat', which allegedly got mixed up in the illegal transportation of chemical weapons.

Constant leaks of information about the sum the pirates are demanding in exchange for the 'Faina' crew members means they are quick learners and now need no middlemen to put active pressure on their counterparts at negotiations and get the media limelight.

The fact that the Ukrainian ship-owners are refusing to make any comments raises questions about whether they're more interested in saving the ship and its cargo, including 33 T-72 tanks and other multi-million-dollar military ammunition, or saving the lives of the sailors one of whom, the Russian captain, has already died.

The use of force is not justified now because all parties realise the impossibility of any docking and unloading in the presence of several warships in the area. This could push the parties to opt for a better solution of the conflict, the peaceful release of the crew members.

The recent altercation between moderate and radical factions among the pirates should be considered something of a norm. Piracy is a business. What the pirates need is money and they know that if they kill the sailors they'll be killed too.

Never before has there been a story involving Somali pirates when the lives of pirates and sailors were so inter-dependent. It raises hopes for happy end to the story – the sooner the better.