11-17-2008, 11:50 AM
Chock full O' facts
Join Date: Nov 2007
Somali pirates hijack Saudi oil tanker
A hijacked supertanker with two British crew members was being taken to a Somali port this afternoon after pirates seized their biggest vessel yet off the African coast.
Acts of piracy in the shipping lanes of the Arabian Sea have become increasingly violent and commonplace in recent months, but this is the first time hijackers have seized an oil tanker.
The 1,000 ft-long Sirius Star was seized on Saturday around 450 nautical miles from Mombasa on the Kenyan coast. The supertanker, which can hold up to two million barrels of crude oil, is owned by Aramco, a Saudi company, but was sailing under a Liberian flag.
The Foreign Office confirmed that two of those on board were British but could not give any details of their role on the ship.
“We don’t know exactly where they are taking it but we know the town of Eyl is a pirate stronghold.”
Eyl is in the northern Puntland region of Somalia, it is thought that dozens of ships are currently being held captive there.
Al-Arabyia, the Saudi-owned television station, reported this afternoon that the ship had been freed, but both the US Navy and Saudi Aramco, which owns the supertanker, said they had no knowledge of any release
The vast ship and its 25 crew, including members from the UK, Croatia, the Philippines, Poland and Saudi Arabia, have been under the command of an armed gang for two days. “The vessel is under the pirates’ control,” a spokesman for the US Navy 5th fleet in Bahrain said.
The Saudi ship, which is 330 meters (1,080 feet) long, had been headed for the United States via the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa. The route is a main thoroughfare for fully laden supertankers from the Gulf, the world’s biggest oil exporting region.
Saudi Arabia is the largest of those exporters, sending around seven million barrels per day to into the global markets.
Pirates, often based in anarchic Somalia, have made the shipping routes off east Africa among the most dangerous in the world but this is the first time an oil tanker has been seized.
The International Maritime Bureau has reported that at least 83 ships have been attacked off Somalia since January and 33 of those were hijacked. It is believed that 12 of the vessels and more than 200 crew are still in the hands of pirates.
This is the first I have heard about this.
"like strapping a pillow on a bull in a china shop" Bullitt