Monday, September 29, 2008

US Warships Set to Intercept Hijacked Cargo Ship

An unspecified number of US warships along with USS destroyer Howard have surrounded the hijacked Ukranian cargo vessel, Faina. The cargo vessel is carrying a large amount of weapons such as RPGs, anti-aircraft guns, AK-47s and 33 T-72 tanks. The shipment was destined for Sudan not Kenya as previously stated. Kenya is only a transit point for the shipment. The Somali pirates are demanding $20 million in ransom.AP

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — U.S. warships and helicopters on Monday surrounded a hijacked cargo ship loaded with Sudan-bound tanks and other arms to keep the weapons from falling "into the wrong hands," an American Navy spokesman said.

Lt. Nathan Christensen, a deputy spokesman for the U.S. Navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, said the shipment of 33 Russian-designed tanks, rifles and ammunition on the Ukrainian-operated Faina was headed for Sudan — not Kenya as previously claimed by Kenyan officials. The U.N. has imposed an embargo on arms destined for the Sudanese region of Darfur, to be observed by the government, allied paramilitary units known as the janjaweed, and the rebels.

A 5th Fleet statement said the ship was headed for the Kenyan port of Mombassa, but that "additional reports state the cargo was intended for Sudan."

The pirates who seized the ship are demanding a $20 million ransom.

The U.S. fears the armaments onboard the Ukrainian vessel may end up with al-Qaida-linked Islamic insurgents [al Shabaab] who have been fighting the shaky U.N.-backed Somali transitional government since late 2006.


A_R said...

Do US destroyers still have torpedoes? Just sayin'....

Solves multiple problems with one detonation...

ZZMike said...

If all they're doing is surrounding it - giving it safe escort to wherever it's going - they might as well go home.

Unless they capture it or sink it, it's all wasted effort.

On the other hand, it's good to know that we can get that many ships into the area that quickly.

mwl said...

Yes, Arleigh Burke destroyers have torpedoes. Not that you'd really need to do that much damage, I'm sure one or two shots from the 5-inch mount would suffice. Of course, doing that would piss off the Ukrainians, never mind the Russians, who might "accidentally" shoot up a US-flagged vessel elsewhere in response.

But we don't really need to sink it. All we need to do is pin it in place long enough for SEAL teams to arrive.