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Sep 29, 2008

Faina seized by pirates; captain dies of heart attack

Story PictureIt is not uncommon to hear of vessels registered in Belize involved in illegal activities. But tonight a Belize-flagged ship is in trouble not for breaking the law, but as a victim. On Thursday the Ukrainian vessel, Faina, and its twenty-one member crew were on their way to Kenya when it was seized by pirates two hundred and fifty miles off the coast of Somalia. The ship’s cargo of thirty-three Soviet-made tanks, tank artillery shells, grenade launchers and small arms was initially said to have been sold to the Kenyan government, but latest reports are that the supplies were instead heading to southern Sudan. This morning the vessel’s Russian Master, Capt. Vladimir Kolobkov died as a result of a heart attack and the international media is reporting that the pirates are demanding twenty million dollars to release the ship and crew. Russia has dispatched a warship to the area and the U.S. Navy is keeping a watchful eye on the cargo vessel and further developments. The Faina was registered with the International Marine Registry Belize in 2003 and is said to be compliant with the relevant national and international regulations. In a press release issued this afternoon, IMMARBE said that the National Security Council Secretariat of Belize as well as all other international organizations have been informed of the situation. IMMARBE also notes that an investigation has been launched into this act of piracy and that they are liaising with all the relevant parties in order to resolve the situation.


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