Somali pirates seize Tomex of Odessa owned carrier with 30 Soviet-era T-72 tanks

September 26th, 2008 - 4:47 pm ICT by David M N James  

T72 TanksSomali pirates have seized up to 30 Soviet-era T-72 tanks when they seized the Belize-flagged, Ukrainian-managed RO/RO carrier Faina.

The carrier is owned and managed by Tomex of Odessa. On board the ship were 21 people on board: 17 Ukrainians, three Russians and a Latvian. The ship was shipping military hardware, including some 30 T-72 tanks and spare parts for armored vehicles for the troubled government of Southern Sudan. The ship was sailing from the Baltics and was expected in Mombasa on September 27. The ship is a RO/RO carrier with stern ramp. It was originally built in Sweden in 1978 as the Vallmo, it has changed hands to become the Matina, Loverval, and Marabou. In 2007 it was sold to Redrick Company, Belize, and became Faina.

Strong signal of a full scale invasion of the Somali coast by an allied force of Kenya, American and Ethiopian troops is underway as pirates got a shipload of arms early today. The Somali pirates who are linked to Arab countries intelligence networks and hard-line Muslim movement’s intelligence networks were tipped of the South Sudan bound cargo by suspected Al-Qaeda operatives in the Kenyan-Somali border area where they have cells. The area known as Ras Kamboni is a hideout of terrorist and it is the training ground of Somali insurgents who arm the pirates.

The pirates seized a Ukrainian ship loaded with 30 T-72 tanks which were bound for the Kenyan port of Mombassa and a further transit via road to Juba. The ship had a cargo of about 30 tanks, as well as spare parts for armored vehicles. The seized cargo is already compromised as insurgents are quickly working on seizing the arms and use them against the transitional government of Somalia and the Ethiopian forces as well as a small contingent of Ugandan peace keepers.

Kenyan, American and Ethiopian intelligence networks are working on a possible retaliation on increased piracy in the coast which is parallel to the strength of the Somali insurgents. T-72 tanks are popular with poor armies and are extremely light weight of 41 tones.

Insurgents might pose the biggest threat ever to the Ethiopian soldiers supporting the TFG government. If they seize and use the arms which have been the case with some ships seized by the pirates, they will form a very powerful front and certainly overrun the government and the Ethiopian forces. This will lead to the return of Islamic courts Union which have been ruling the country before the Ethiopians came in.

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