Pirates release Ukrainian weapons ship, but what about its cargo?

Somali pirates released the hijacked Ukrainian vessel, the MV Faina, today to much international applause. Held since September, it cost “just” $3.2 million in ransom. (And yes, that is a bargain given that the cargo’s value is estimated at $30 million). How delightful that the hostages on board are free! But I feel quite differently ...

By , International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Colombia.
588776_090205_faina5.jpg
588776_090205_faina5.jpg

Somali pirates released the hijacked Ukrainian vessel, the MV Faina, today to much international applause. Held since September, it cost "just" $3.2 million in ransom. (And yes, that is a bargain given that the cargo's value is estimated at $30 million).

How delightful that the hostages on board are free! But I feel quite differently about the cargo. Doesn't anyone remember what is on this ship? That $30 million of cargo is not oil or clothes or cars. It's weapons -- tanks, arms, and more. The Ukrainian press reports that it is still headed to Kenya -- it's original destination, maybe. Or was it the semiautonomous but increasingly armed government of Southern Sudan?

Maybe I don't want to know the answer, but I'm still surprised that no one is asking where this stuff is going to end up.

Somali pirates released the hijacked Ukrainian vessel, the MV Faina, today to much international applause. Held since September, it cost “just” $3.2 million in ransom. (And yes, that is a bargain given that the cargo’s value is estimated at $30 million).

How delightful that the hostages on board are free! But I feel quite differently about the cargo. Doesn’t anyone remember what is on this ship? That $30 million of cargo is not oil or clothes or cars. It’s weapons — tanks, arms, and more. The Ukrainian press reports that it is still headed to Kenya — it’s original destination, maybe. Or was it the semiautonomous but increasingly armed government of Southern Sudan?

Maybe I don’t want to know the answer, but I’m still surprised that no one is asking where this stuff is going to end up.

Photo: Jason Zalasky/U.S. Navy via Getty Images

Elizabeth Dickinson is International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Colombia.

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