The curious case of the Al Noor

Andrew Mwangura writes:

Illicit weapons and drugs:

Mombasa port police have discharged contents of a stateless merchant vessel AMIN DARYA that was impounded off Kenyan territorial waters last Wednesday.

Kenya Anti-narcotics Police, Kenya Ports Authority, Kenya Revenue Authority and CID officers were involved in the exercise before verification of the cargo begins.

Although reports have consistently referred to it as Al Noor or Alnoor, the stern carries the words ‘B. Bushehr Amin Darya’.

Real name of the vessel is AMIN DARYA. The 496gt general cargo ship Amin Darya, IMO 8630784, was built in 1987 as the KISSHO MARU. 

At some point it was flagged to Sierra Leone and owned and managed by Ebrahim A.M. of Dubai (there are Ebrahim Shipping companies in Dubai and Pakistan). The ship is said to have sailed from Pakistan originally.

However, there is also an Iranian company called Pishgaman Amin Darya Shipping, based in Tehran, which may be relevant. The company was set up at about the same time as KISSHO MARU was renamed AMIN DARYA in 2004.

The first part of the script on the stern presumably refers to Bandar Bushehr, in Iran – perhaps the port of registry, as several sources say it was sailing under the Iranian flag.

It was certainly classed to Iran’s Asia Classification Society.

Although some reports say the vessel was under the Zanzibar flag, we know that many Iranian ships were reflagged to Zanzibar to try to evade sanctions.

The last recorded port of call in 2013 was ‘B Bosher’ – presumably meaning Bandar Bushehr.

The crew comprises 2 Indians and 7 Pakistanis; the captain is Iranian.

So this looks like a ship with Iranian and Pakistani connections with a lot of uncertainty over its true flag, which was sailing on a route known for drugs smuggling. No wonder the authorities – which I suspect include Interpol and UNODC – were interested in it.

AMIN DARYA docked Mombasa port last Thursday afternoon laden with 6,248 kilograms of Hashish.

The vessel was sized by Kenya navy off- Lamu some 120 nautical miles north east of Mombasa while underway from Somalia heading to Kenya en-route to Zanzibar from Pakistan.

This is the second time for cargo ship laden with illicit drugs to be sized by HMAS Dawrin in a span of two months.

On April 24, 2014 Royal Australian naval frigate HMAS Darwin sized Indian dhow Al-Aziza laden with more than one ton of Heroin off the Kenyan coast.

The Indian dhow Al-Aziza and another Indian dhow Al – Fauzia was being monitored by international naval ships operating in the Western Indian Ocean for almost a year.

As soon as Al-Aziza was sized by the Royal Australian naval frigate HMAS Darwin MSV Laxminarayan suspiciously called Mombasa port on April 25, 2014.

Indian business man Dawood Ibrahim is believed to be part of this illicit business.

Dawood Ibrahim has a stake in the multimillion –dollar ship-breaking industry in India.

Illicit weapons and drugs are transported to East Africa by Ocean-going vessels such as Indian dhows, IUU fishing boats and strange merchant ships flying Flags of Conveniences (FoC).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s