The Kiev government said the ship contained 33 T-72s as well as
munitions and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. A Ukrainian parliamentary
committee chairman, Valery Konovalyuk, said the shipment was meant to have
marked the last batch of 77 T-72s ordered by Kenya in 2007.
"The captain reported that three cutter boats with armed people
approached the Faina, and then communication was cut off," the Ukraine
Foreign Ministry said.
Later, Kenya said it had ordered the military hardware for a range of
"The government is in contact with international maritime agencies and
other security partners in an endeavor to secure the ship and cargo," Kenyan
government spokesman Alfred Mutua said. "However, it should be noted that
because the ship had not yet docked at Mombasa, the responsibility of the
insured cargo rests with the shipper."
Industry sources said Mombasa has been used as a port for military
shipments to Sudan, under an international military embargo.
But the sources said representatives of Sudan were not seen at the port.
Industry sources said Russia often used Belarus and Ukraine to ship
weapons to countries under international embargo. They said this included
such countries as Iran and Sudan.
The seizure of the Ukrainian military cargo was believed to be a first
by Somali pirates in 2008. So far, pirates based in Somalia have captured
more than 30 commercial vessels, many of them around the Gulf of Aden. On
Sept. 27, Egypt reported that Somali pirates released an Egyptian ship and
its crew of 25.
On Sept. 27, Russia said it has sent a naval frigate, Neustrashimy,
toward Somalia to stop pirates. The Russian warship was expected to stay in
the Horn of Africa until the end of 2008.
"Russia's navy will send ships for temporary missions to areas made
dangerous because of maritime piracy to protect Russian citizens and
guarantee the safety of shipping," Russian Navy spokesman Igor Dygalo said.