Ukraine calls for International cooperation in counter-piracy

Ukrainian cargo ship “Faina”, carrying military hardware to Kenya, was finely released from the Somali pirates captivity on February 12, 2009. It made the International Community to face the problem of piracy in the modern world one more time and to correlate components of this resonant incident in Somali waters.
Following requirements of the Security Council of the United Nations and arms transfers procedure set up for Ukraine as for all the rest world countries on the military hardware market, Ukrainian freighter “Faina” was on its way to Mombassa. Evidently, loaded with tanks, grenade launchers and ammunitions “Faina” was close to being tasty morsel for Somali pirate gangs. Ukraine has “no free U.S. 5th Fleet” in the Indian Ocean, thus no special Ukrainian or Kenyan guard was envisaged to escort the Ukrainian freighter.
But how could it be so easy for Somalia pirates to board the unknown ship with no information on its itinerary, speed and coordinates available on the web-site? It’s a first and reasonable question, isn’t it? No, it is not as appears. Some vague allegations were made instead. That the weapons and ammunitions were destined to Mombassa port to be further transferred most probably to South Sudan. Such a stubborn assumption heard from the same U.S. 5th Navy in such a desired manner for Russians. As Ukraine has been insisting, the deal was in accordance with international law and the weapons had been sold to Kenya, which had already received tanks from Ukraine. The Kenyan government later issued an official statement confirming that it had purchased the cargo aboard the freighter “Faina” for its military forces. It would not be out of place to mention that Ukraine keeps on informing on its weapons contracts and arms transfers, including “Kenyan ones”, to the OSCE, the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies and UN Register of Conventional Arms as well. “Faina’s” hijacking or market competition? Leaving it to “connoisseurs” the one fact is obvious: 17 Ukrainians and 3 Russians and one Latvian were captured by pirates with their lives on stake. The President of Ukraine V.Youshchenko charged the Security and Foreign Intelligence Services of Ukraine, Ministries of Foreign Affaires and Defence of Ukraine with an urgent rescue party to free hostages without any harm to their life. Fortunately, it is a success story with rounds of negotiations, special operations and finally – ransom. But there are still much more of them – fragile freighters with unguarded and unsecured crews onboard in the Somali waters.
It is a time to consider a problem of ensuring security for shipping by common endeavours on the International level. Takeovers and captures are rare events without preliminary preparations, it is not just looking after horizon. Somali pirates are in their majority former fisherman with machineguns but coordinated and guided by someone from the outside. Private security companies, loosing their jobs in Iraq and Afghanistan, “insiders” in the world navigation net and their bosses in African and Western criminal clans should face a joint international response able to bring to an end sea piracy of the XXI century. Lets hope that recent events around Ukrainian cargo ship “Faina” will finally consolidate International Community in its counter-piracy activities and Ukraine will be more prudent and judicious in choosing its partners for future military-technical cooperation.
Ulas Martyn Journalists’ Union Ukraine