Ready to get your conspiracy on? ready to suddenly feel a little queasy? good,
because after boarding an Iranian ship and trying to open some locked crates a group of pirates died in horrible ways. Now, as cool as it would be for me to say curses or voodoo, this comes down to good old fashioned nuclear or biological or horrible thing you don't want to know about weapons.
This has led to a tense standoff in Somalia with Russian troops heading into the area with tanks and other things that generally could be used for sandblasting a toothpick.
Andrew Mwangura, the director of the East African Seafarers’ Assistance Programme, told the Sunday Times: “We don’t know exactly how many, but the information that I am getting is that some of them had died. There is something very wrong about that ship.”
The vessel’s declared cargo consists of “minerals” and “industrial products”. But officials involved in negotiations over the ship are convinced that it was sailing for Eritrea to deliver small arms and chemical weapons to Somalia’s Islamist rebels.
A naval spokesman, Lieutenant-Commander Greyling van den Berg, told the Sunday Times that the navy had not been ordered by the government to become involved in “the Somali pirate issue”.
About 22000 ships a year pass through the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Aden, where regional instability and “no-questions-asked” ransom payments have led to a dramatic rise in attacks on vessels by heavily armed Somali raiders in speedboats.
The Iran Deyanat was sailing in those waters on August 21, past the Horn of Africa and about 80 nautical miles southeast of Yemen, when it was boarded by about 40 pirates armed with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades. They were alleged members of a crime syndicate said to be based at Eyl, a small fishing village in northern Somalia.
The ship is owned and operated by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, or IRISL, a state-owned company run by the Iranian military.
Initially it was claimed the cargo contained “crude oil”; later it was said to be “minerals”.
And Mwangura has added: “Our sources say it contains chemicals, dangerous chemicals.”
But IRISL has denied that — and threatened legal action against Mwangura. The company has reportedly paid the pirates 200000 — the first of several “ransom instalments”, but that, too, has been denied.