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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Somali Pirates: About that last killing . . .


Last week I posted about the killing of a ship's captain by Somali pirates, see here. Now it seems there may be more to the story - much more to the story - as set out here:
Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers’ Assistance Programme in Kenya told Fairplay that the latest reports from Somalia indicate that the attack was not an act of piracy.

Intelligence suggested that the incident was the outcome of a covert deal, linked with “mafia-like” Somali businessmen, he explained, with no indications as yet that any crew member was involved in the deal.

The general cargo ship Barwaaqo had been headed for Mogadishu when its captain was killed when he refused to turn away from the port, the BBC reported last week.

The ship is owned by Hamadeh A, the same Syrian company that owns MV Wael H, which was involved in a controversial shootout in October last year.

In that incident, alleged pirates engaged alleged Puntland ‘coastguard’ personnel, but this later proved to be a battle over the ship –a cement carrier – between two business rivals.
In his excellent book, Terror on the Seas: True Tales of Modern-Day Pirates, Daniel Sekulich has a chapter on Somalia in which the Reverand Michael Sparrow of the Mission to Seafarers in Mombassa, Kenya, (at page 164) says about shipments into Somalia:
"No one trades up there without paying bribes; it is what makes the difference between a safe voyage and a hijacking. You see, this is like a protection racket going on. If you want to take something to Somalia by ship - running shoes, building materials, UN food aid, anything - there are warlords who control the ports who need to be paid."
Draw your own conclusions.

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