Thursday, September 24, 2015

Death, Drugs and Weapons - Mystery Surrounds Vessel Carrying UN Peacekeeping Supplies

A Detective Dead, a Cache of Hidden Arms and Suspected Narcotics as Cargo
Shipping News Feature

KENYA – NORWAY – After Kenyan officials detained one of its ships last week at the port of Mombasa, Höegh Autoliners has confirmed that its vessel, the Höegh Transporter had been found carrying undeclared weapons inside a shipment of United Nations trucks. The Kenyan authorities have also reportedly found a substance, believed to be drugs, that is currently being tested. Should the substance test positive for drugs, the vessel would be in increasing danger of being blown up under orders of the country's president and in keeping with governmental policies.

Loaded in Mumbai, India, the vehicles were destined for the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO). The undeclared cache of munitions were found stashed in compartments inside the military grade peacekeeping trucks were reportedly 34 weapons, including 9 M-16 rifles, NATO-grade machine guns and Russian-made rocket-propelled grenades. In a statement confirming the presence of the undeclared cargo, Höegh said:

“It is our understanding that these weapons belong to the UN vehicles in which they were found, and were for use by the UN during their peacekeeping mission. The weapons were not declared to us at the time the cargo was loaded, and the fact that weapons were in the vehicles is in violation with our terms of transportation, which clearly states that no arms or ammunition are accepted for shipment.”

The fate of the car carrier the Höegh Transporter is yet to be determined, after reports of a substance, some saying crystalline in nature with others describing a white powder, was supposedly found in the tyres of the vehicles. Kenya’s policy is to destroy vessels in connection with drug smuggling, which first occurred in August 2014 when President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the destruction of a ship laden with $14 million worth of heroin.

Really throwing the cat amongst the pigeons and adding an air of conspiracy to the matter is the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of Australian national Shamus Mangan, a UN Office Drugs and Crime detective charged with tracking the ship involved, the Höegh Transporter. Mangan was found dead on September 5 in his hotel room in Mombasa. Authorities reported that he had ‘considerable blood in his mouth’, yet with no apparent physical injuries. Connections have obviously been drawn between the demise of Mr Mangan and the ongoing investigation into the vessel and her illicit cargo.