Norwegian shipping company Höegh Autoliners has confirmed that its vessel, Höegh Transporter, which is currently berthed at Mombasa, Kenya, carried a consignment of United Nations (UN) vehicles from Mumbai, India destined for the UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo which contained undeclared weapons.
“During a cargo inspection which has taken place over the last few days in Mombasa, the Kenyan authorities have discovered weapons, not declared in the cargo manifest, inside some of the UN vehicles. 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 company said in an update.
As explained, the weapons were not declared to the company at the time the cargo was loaded.
“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 update further reads.
“We have noted reports in the press that in addition to weapons, the Kenyan authorities have found a substance which is being tested to ascertain whether could be drugs. We have no clear information at this point as to whether this is correct or not,” the company added.
The Norwegian shipowner said that its staff continue to cooperate with the Kenyan authorities and expect to have the vessel released to continue her voyage soon.
According to local media reports, the investigation continues and it has not been officially revealed how much weaponry has been discovered.
“We cannot tell how many weapons have been recovered because the exercise is still ongoing and we don’t want to jeopardise it by giving incomplete information,” Francis Wanjohi, Coast regional police commander, told Reuters late on Tuesday.
Wanjohi said that testing of the confiscated substance on board, believed to be drugs, is under way as well.
In the latest turn of events, a UN detective, identified as Australian Shamus Mangan, who was investigating the MV Hoegh Transporter and the latest findings of the inspection on board was found dead in his hotel room in Mombasa on September 5, writes the Star.
The death is believed to be linked to the investigation, however there are still no official reports on the matter.