Somali pirates have seized a United Arab Emirates-flagged cargo ship loaded with weapons bound for the anarchic Horn of Africa nation in contravention of a U.N. arms embargo, maritime experts said on Monday.
Also on Monday, the gunmen launched their longest range hijack attempt yet -- opening fire on a giant Hong Kong-flagged crude oil tanker 1,000 nautical miles east of Mogadishu.
Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme told Reuters he believed the weapons ship was using a fake name. He said it had been hijacked on Sunday and was now held near the northern Somali town of Garacad.
"She is one of the regular weapons carriers circumventing the U.N. arms embargo on Somalia," Mwangura said. Maritime sources say the craft is believed to be carrying light arms and ammunition, as well as rockets and rocket-propelled grenades.
"We understand the weapons belong to the Somali government," Farah, a pirate, told Reuters by satellite telephone.
Another gang member, Hassan, said the weapons ship was well known to them: "It has been circling in our ocean for a long time, bringing illegal weapons to massacre Somalis," he said.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
A ship apparently carrying arms to the friendly neighborhoods of Somalia has been captured by Somali pirates, as set out in here: