Statement Attributable to the Office of the Spokesman of the UN Secretary-General and the UN Information Centre –Nairobi on the Seized Vessel in Mombasa, Kenya
We are aware of the media reports that a private vessel shipping UN materiel was carrying allegedly illegal weapons.
The weapons found in the shipment by the Kenyan authorities were part of a legitimate and declared Contingent Owner Equipment cargo packed in Mumbai, India with destination the Indian Battalion of MONUSCO, DRC. The weapons were declared in the bill of lading but not in the manifest. It is normal practice for weapons attached to the APCs to be dismantled and placed inside the carriers in order to avoid damage whilst being shipped.
The list with the weapons was provided by the Indian authorities after the vessel sailed from Mumbai. A request was sent by the UN contractor responsible for the shipment to the Mombasa ship agent to amend the manifest but since this was not possible, a declaration of the weapons accompanying the military vehicles was attached.
The UN has cooperated fully with the Kenyan authorities and has communicated the above through Note Verbale to the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs
It is unfortunate that the Kenyan authorities inspected the cargo without a UN presence which runs contrary to established protocol and provisions surrounding privileges and immunities.
We are also aware of the disturbing allegations that drugs were also found on the vessel. This is being currently investigated by the responsible authorities.