2012 Feb 22

Interpol asked to help after arrest of ‘pirate’ ship captained by Bulgarian

Interpol has been asked to assist in the investigation that has followed the arrest of an alleged pirate ship crew, captained by a man reported to be a Bulgarian, off the coast of the Comores on February 18 2012, media in Mauritius said.

Security forces carried out the arrests of the 10 armed men, who said that they were Kenyan police escorting a vessel to South Africa.

However, they had no documentation to prove this and were not wearing Kenyan police uniforms, reports said.

While the alleged pirate ship was registered as a fishing vessel, a number of Kalashnikov assault rifles were found on board.

Mauritian newspaper l’Express said that it had established that contrary to earlier reports, the vessel was not Mauritian. "A ship cannot fly the flag of Mauritius when it is registered in Mombasa, Kenya," a navy spokesperson was quoted as saying.

Interpol had been requested to help investigate the identities of the 10 arrested men, the newspaper said.

The captain and crew were in custody facing charges including illegally entering Comoros waters and of breaching maritime navigation law.

The presence of weapons on board the ship had raised concerns, given the history of coups in the Comoros, the report said.

Security forces had acted after the vessel announced its intention to anchor two miles off Moroni, capital of the Comoros.


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