Thursday, February 12, 2009

US Navy captures another 9 pirates as MV Faina finally arrives in Mombasa

US Navy photo from last Wednesday of personnel
from USS Vella Gulf and suspected pirates

A day after capturing seven suspected pirates in the Gulf of Aden, naval personnel from the USS Vella Gulf were at it again, coming to the assistance of an Indian vessel that was being attacked. In responding to a distress call from the MV Premdivya, the warship dispatched a helicopter that flew over a small boat the suspects were using to attempt to board the Indian vessel. After firing warning shots, the pirate skiff was stopped and nine aboard where taken into custody by the Americans, who found weapons, including RPGs, in the small boat. According to AP, the suspected pirates were then transferred to the floating brig USNS Lewis And Clark, where they joined the individuals captured yesterday. It is thought that the suspects will all be turned over to Kenyan authorities for prosecution.

Meanwhile, the MV Faina finally arrived in port, docking in the port city of Mombasa just before 4:00pm local time. Kenyan media outlet Daily Nation says that the freighter was received by cheering crowds, some of whom had been waiting since 11:00am for the Faina to dock. It is also reported that the chief of the Kenyan military's defence staff, Gen. Jeremiah Kianga, was unequivocal about the final destination of the hardware abaord the vessel, including those 33 T-72 battle tanks.

“The hardware belongs to Kenya. We tendered for them and bought the best at a good price. It cost us quite a substantial amount of money,” Gen Kianga is quoted as saying. (There's a clip of the general speaking to the media about this on the Daily Nation website linked above.) Including the British-built Vickers Mk3 main battle tanks already in that African nation's arsenal, this means Kenya will now boast a substantial amount of armour for its soldiers.

Photos below are of the arrival and docking of MV Faina (all photos from Reuters)

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