17 November 2008

somali pirates seize saudi supertanker sirus star

saudi supertanker sirus star

Supertanker loaded with oil hijacked

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- 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.

Lt. Nathan Christensen, a spokesman for the U.S. navy's 5th Fleet, said the pirates hijacked the Sirius Star -- a newly commissioned ship owned by Saudi oil company Aramco -- 830 kilometres [516 miles] southeast of Mombasa, Kenya.

He said the pirates were taking the ship to a Somali port of Eyl where hijacked vessels are often held.

Somali pirates have seized several ships off the Horn of Africa coast in the past week, but the latest hijacking -- of a tanker the size of an aircraft carrier -- marked a dramatic escalation. ~ read more winnipeg free press

united states joint chiefs of staff chairman admiral michael mullen said "i'm stunned by the range of it, less so than i am the size," of the seizure of the sirius star on sunday by armed men.

admiral mullen also said the pirates are "very good at what they do. they're very well armed. tactically, they are very good" ~ read more sydney morning herald

the sirius star is 330 meters in length [1,083 feet] can carry up to two million barrels of oil.