Somali Pirates Release Ukrainian Cargo Ship

M/V FAINA released after ransom paid

While the pirates demanded $35 million, they eventually released the Ukrainian cargo ship for $3 million ransom. The FAINA was transporting military cargoes to Kenya when it was seized by pirates on September 25, 2008.

The ship’s crew consists of 17 Ukrainians, three Russians and one Latvian. The ship’s captain, Vladimir Kolobkov, died from illness two days after the seizure. The vessel reached Mombasa on February 12, 2009, where it was met by Kenyan and Ukrainian officials.

The 19-week ordeal left the crew suntanned, but exhausted. Wearing khaki or red overalls, the crew observed a minute of silence to honor Captain Kolobkov. It is not clear if an autopsy will be conducted on the captain. A Ukrainian television station reported that he may have been poisoned.

The ship was transporting 33 refurbished Soviet-era T-72 tanks and at least 14,000 rounds of ammunition. The military cargo will be offloaded on Friday and dispatched to Kenyan military bases, said Kenyan officials.