Pirates Demand $35 Million For Hijacked Ship
Pirates hijacked a ship carrying 33 tanks and a crew of 35 on Saturday off the coast of Somalia, reported The New York Times.
The hijackers took The Faina, a Ukrainian-owned vessel, to Xarardheere, an isolated, fishing village and an active pirate hiding place for hijacked ships, after capturing it 200 miles off the coast of Somalia. The Star Tribune reported two other ships may also be hidden at Xarardheere, including a Greek chemical tanker with a crew of 19.
According to Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, an American military spokesman, the United States Navy has a ship, The Howard, in the area but no immediate rescue plans.
Despite The Faina's hostile cargo which included 33 Soviet-designed T2 tanks, ammunition and grenade launchers, Mohamed Osman Aden, a Somali diplomat in Kenya, doesn't think the captors are interested in it.
‚ÄúThese guys just want the money,‚Ä? he said.
As for the hostages, a spokesman on board, speaking via a Russian website, Life.ru, said the crew members were in, "not good, but normal" condition.
The spokesman, Vladimir Nikolsky, identified as the captain's senior assistant, said the ship's captain was suffering from heat stroke.
Attacks like these are becoming increasingly common in a lawless Somalia. Just this year, over 50 ships were attacked and 25 hijacked off the coast of Somalia, 15 of which are still being held.