Pirates and Kenyan officials reported that the Somali pirates, who hijacked the Ukrainian arms freighter Faina over four months ago, were finally paid the ransom they demanded. The ship’s owners dropped $3.2 million (lower than the original $35 million the pirates asked for) via parachute onto the ship and the last pirate left on Thursday, February 5. The ship is now safely in the hands of the U.S. Navy.
Although Somali pirates have hijacked more than 100 ships in the past year, the hijacking of the Faina received particular attention because its cargo included tanks, grenade launchers, antiaircraft guns, and ammunition. American officials worried that the Islamist insurgents of Somalia might get possession of these dangerous goods. The original destination of the weapons is unclear: the Kenyan government claims to own them, while the pirates and Western officials claim that they were headed to former rebels in southern Sudan.
One of the pirates, Isse Mohammed, says that his gang would continue hunting ships. Meanwhile, the warships of thirteen countries, including the United States, have joined the antipiracy campaign.