Monday, November 17, 2008

Oil: Somali Pirates Seize Supertanker, Smoke the Khat, Head for Home

From the AP:
The U.S. Navy says pirates who seized a Saudi-owned oil supertanker are taking the ship to a Somali port where hijacked vessels are often held.

Navy spokesman Lt. Nathan Christensen of the U.S. 5th Fleet says the pirates holding the MV Sirius Star are "nearing an anchorage point" of the town of Eyl. The port has become a haven for pirates and a number of other ships are still being held there.

The tanker, carrying a cargo of crude and 25 crewmembers, was captured on Saturday more than 450 nautical miles southeast of Mombasa, Kenya, the furthest Somali pirates have traveled to seize a ship. The Sirius Star can carry about 2 million barrels of oil.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Somali pirates hijacked a supertanker off the Kenyan coast, seizing the Saudi-owned ship loaded with crude and its 25-member crew, the U.S. Navy said Monday....

...The tanker seized Saturday is 1,080 feet and can carry about 2 million barrels of oil...

From SeaTrade Asia:

Vela VLCC latest vessel hijacked in Gulf of Aden

Dubai: Vela International Marine’s recently launched VLCC Sirius Star (pictured) became the latest casualty of increased pirate activity in the Gulf of Aden. The 318,000-tonne vessel, launched in March this year, was taken after a stand off approximately 450 nautical miles off the southeast of Mombasa. At the time of capture, reports indicate that there were 25 crew members on board hailing from Croatia, Britain, Philippines, Poland and Saudi Arabia.

The threat of piracy has escalated over the past year, with 199 incidents of piracy or attempted piracy reported worldwide from January to September this year, of which 63 were in the Gulf of Aden and off the Somali coast, according to figures released by the International Maritime Bureau....MORE