Navy Says Crew of Hijacked Ship is OK

Tuesday, October 07, 2008
The crew of the merchant vessel MV Faina stands on the deck after a U.S. Navy request to check on their health and welfare. The Belize-flagged cargo ship, owned and operated by Kaalybe Shipping, Ukraine, was seized by pirates Sept. 25 and forced to proceed to anchorage off the Somali Coast. The ship is carrying a cargo of Ukrainian T-72 tanks and related military equipment. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason R. Zalasky.

On October 3, the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet released this photo of the crew of the MV Faina.  The crew on the hijacked cargo ship appear to be in good health, the Navy reported.  The ship's Russian captain died of a heart condition nearly two weeks ago, reports said.  The Belize-flagged cargo ship, owned and operated by , , was seized by pirates Sept. 25 and forced to proceed to anchorage off the . The ship is carrying a cargo of Ukrainian T-72 tanks and related military equipment. 

According to recent reports, a Somali pirate on the hijacked cargo ship transporting tanks reduced the ransom to $8m.  The pirates originally demanded $20m.

Six warships are surrounding the Faina, which was hijacked late last month with 21 crew on board.

The Faina's hijacking, the most high-profile this year, illustrates the ability of a handful of pirates from a failed state to menace a key international shipping lane despite the deployment of warships by global powers. More than two dozen ships have been hijacked off 's coast this year.

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