The Somali pirates holding the MV Faina Ukrainian vessel have threatened to kill the crew tomorrow, Ukraine`s Segodnya newspaper said on Wednesday.

The newspaper said that it had spoken on the phone to one of the pirates, who said that there was no food or water left and that "the crew would probably die tomorrow."

A spokesman for the ship owners said that the crew ran out of food and water a week ago and the pirates had been feeding the sailors up to October 21 with supplies brought from the mainland.

The Faina, carrying at least 33 tanks and other heavy weaponry, was seized by Somali pirates on September 25. The pirates are also holding hostage 17 Ukrainian nationals, two Russians, and one Lithuanian.

The Russian captain of the Faina died of a heart attack after the vessel was seized. The pirates holding the ship have demanded an $8 million ransom, and have threatened to kill the hostages if a military operation is launched against them.

A Russian naval vessel passed through the Suez Canal on Wednesday en route to join an international naval group which has surrounded the Faina.

The warship`s task is to protect Russian vessels and foreign ships with Russian crewmembers from pirate attacks.

Pirates are increasingly active in the waters off Somalia, which has no effective government and no navy to police its coastline. Somali pirates have seized around 30 ships so far this year off the coast of the east African nation.

RIA Novosti