NAIROBI, Sept 27 (Reuters) – A Norwegian-flagged ship that was held in Kenya for more than a week over undeclared weapons belonging to the United Nations has been released, the owners of the vessel said.
Kenyan authorities boarded the ship at the port of Mombasa on Sept. 17 and uncovered undeclared weapons in a U.N. shipment destined for peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The U.N. defended the shipment.
“Höegh Transporter has finally been released from detention in Mombasa, Kenya, and has continued her ocean voyage,” Hoegh Autoliners, the Norwegian owner of the ship, said in a statement issued on Saturday.
The U.N. said the arms were inside armoured personnel carriers destined for its Indian peacekeeping force in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Hoegh Autoliners said it was not aware of the weapons, which contravened its shipping policies.
“The fact that the vehicles contained guns, which were loaded without our knowledge, caused a breach of Kenyan laws and our own strict policies. It is highly regrettable,” the company said.
There were no drugs found aboard the ship contrary to earlier claims attributed to Kenyan police.
“A search for drugs yielded no results involving vessel or crew,” Hoegh Autoliners said.
Coastguards and navies in East Africa have struggled to stem the flow of drugs through their waters as the region has become a key export route for Afghan heroin destined for Europe. (Reporting by Duncan Miriri, editing by Louise Heavens)
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