H?egh Autoliners Vessel Raided in Kenya

Published Sep 18, 2015 4:46 PM by The Maritime Executive

Kenyan authorities raided a vessel docked in the Indian Ocean port of Mombasa suspected of carrying drugs and firearms.

The vessel's Norwegian owner and operator,Höegh Autoliners, said it was cooperating with authorities who were inspecting cargo offloaded at the Indian Ocean hub of Mombasa.

Kenyan soldiers and security personnel cordoned off the entire port for hours before seizing the ship and halting operations at East Africa's largest port. Mombasa serves as the main gateway for imports and exports in the region.

East Africa is a key export route for Afghan narcotics shipments bound for Europe and maritime forces have been unable to curb the flow of drug transport in the region.

In July, Kenyan police seized about 341kg of heroin hidden in the diesel tank of a ship the biggest single seizure of drugs ever at the Indian Ocean port.

Heroin is typically transported from Pakistan and Iran to east Africa, known for its porous borders and weak maritime surveillance, and onwards to Europe.

The port of Mombasa primarily handles fuel and consumer goods imports bound for Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia.

Höegh Autoliners is part of Leif Höegh & Co., an international shipping company founded in 1927. Höegh Autoliners operates pure car/truck carrier (PCTC) vessels.