Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Andrew Mwangura runs Seafarer's Assistance Program, Hijacked Ships Off Coast of Somalia His Speciality, Pirates are Run by Crime Lords in Dubai !

Andrew Mwangura runs Seafarer's Assistance Program, Hijacked Ships Off the Coast of Somalia his Speciality, Pirates are run by crime lords in Dubai ! Dubai, the center of the Universe for terrorism.

Mr Mwangura, 45, has run the Seafarer's Assistance Programme for the past 12 years, tracking down missing vessels, investigating deaths at sea and negotiating the release of hostages and the hijacked ships.

When one of their ships goes missing off the coast of Somalia, the millionaire owners telephone Andrew M. Mwangura, a former seaman who lives in a two-room shack and relies on internet cafes to communicate with his global network of contacts.

Mr Mwangura says there were 29 attacks in the last ten months, compared with two the previous year.

The gangs, he says, are masterminded by crime lords in Dubai and Nairobi who monitor shipping routes for lucrative targets. They pass directions on to as many as five pirate gangs who pay a "licence fee" to Somali politicians or clan elders."

The majority of the Somali leaders are warlords or mafia-like businessmen connected to pirates, arms smugglers, people-traffickers, illegal fishing, logging," he says. "A thief can't catch a thief."

The first Mr Mwangura hears of a hijack is a phone call from a Somali source or a shipping company desperate to trace a missing vessel.He uses a network of contacts in Somalia to find the ship and make contact with the hijackers."If we can find a cell number for the gunmen and ask to speak to the crew to make sure they are safe, then often we can, as long as we don't give away the position of the ship," he says.

In most cases the crew is released unharmed and the ship is returned to its owners for a ransom of anything from $20,000 to more than $1m. Mr Mwangura, who trained as a marine engineer, was in Florida in March of 2008 for a series of lectures on the subject of hijacking ships, but he says he is still surprised by the high profile of the organisation he runs without the help of a secretary, offices or computers."We don't have any of that," he adds. "We send a little text message, something that costs five shillings (about 3p] and then suddenly it's big news, with CNN and the BBC calling."

Dubai, the transit point for International terrorism; stolen cars, money luandering, passport fraud, gun running and Hijacked ships all run by the Muslim Mafia !

Bill Warner
Private Investigator