The Ukrainian ship carrying heavy weapons and artillery which was freed by Somali pirates last week is expected to dock on the Kenyan coast this week.
The Kenyan government has claimed that the weapons on board the MV Faina are for its armed forces.
According to The Financial, a Ukrainian financial news web site, a delegation from Ukraine has already left in a special presidential plane for Kenya. The delegation, which is “headed by deputy president’s Chief of Staff Andriy Honcharuk and head of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine Mykola Malomuzh”, will work to relieve the freed crew members with a new crew.
The Ukrainian government faces skepticism over the true destination of the ship’s cargo. When the ship was hijacked in September 2008, some observers speculated the arms were headed to Sudan, in violation of a 2005 United Nations arms embargo.
It is unclear how the ship was eventually released. The Associated Press reported that a U.S. Navy spokesperson, Lieutenant Nathan Christensen, said “we have all indications that ransom was paid regarding MV Faina.” The Kenyan Parliamentary Committee on Defense and Foreign Relations condemned the alleged ransom payment, according to the East African Standard. The container ship was identified as the Sima Saba. Its cargo was not immediately known.