Monday, November 17, 2008

Somali Pirates Seize Saudi Supertanker Carrying Oil Worth $100m

Somali Pirates Seize Saudi Supertanker...
Carrying Oil Worth $100m
Monday evening, 9:00pm CST- November 17, 2008 brings us this troubling news, posted early Tuesday morning their time... Somali pirates yesterday seized a Saudi supertanker carrying up to 2m barrels of oil worth around $100m in an audacious attack several hundred miles out to sea. Two Britons are among the 25 crew of the Sirius Star, which was captured 450 miles south-east of the Kenyan port of Mombasa. The US navy, which has been tracking the ship, said last night it was close to anchoring in the notorious pirate haven of Eyl on Somalia's north-eastern coast... "Both the size of the vessel and the distance from the coast where the hijackers struck is unprecedented," said Commander Jane Campbell, a spokeswoman for the US Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain. "It shows how quickly the pirates are adapting."...
Read the full report at link below...

Somali Pirates Seize Tanker Carrying Oil Worth $100m
> reports the news this way...
...The tanker, which is owned by Saudi Aramco, came under attack more than 450 nautical miles southeast of Mombasa, Kenya. The ship, three times the size of an aircraft carrier, [I believe it is about the size of an Aircraft Carrier -- not 3 times the size] carried 25 crew members from Croatia, Great Britain, Philippines, Poland and Saudi Arabia, the spokesman said... The $130-150 million, 318,000 tones vessel, launched in March, is flagged in Liberia and operated by Vela International, an Aramco subsidiary. It had been heading for the United States via the Cape of Good Hope. It holds as much as two million barrels of oil – more than one quarter of Saudi Arabia’s daily exports. The hijacking lifted global oil prices over $1 to more than $58 a barrel, although they later lost some gains...
Read the rest at link below...
Pirates Hijack Aramco Tanker

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Super Tanker Attacked in Arabian Sea
Story Number: NNS081117-07
Release Date: 11/17/2008 - 9:42:00 PM

MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- A Liberian-flagged very large crude tanker, Sirius Star, was attacked more than 450 nautical miles southeast of Mombasa, Kenya, Nov. 15.

The ship is owned by the Saudi Arabian-based Saudi Aramco and is operated by Vela International. The crew of 25 includes citizens of: Croatia, Great Britain, Republic of the Philippines, Poland and Saudi Arabia.

This attack comes amid a decrease in the rate of successful pirate attacks on merchant vessels off the coast of Somalia. Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) data analysis has shown that the combination of both military and civilian involvement in the area has reduced the percentage of successful piracy attacks from 53 percent in August to 31 percent in October.

"Our presence in the region is helping deter and disrupt criminal attacks off the Somali coast, but the situation with the Sirius Star clearly indicates the pirates' ability to adapt their tactics and methods of attack" said Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, commander, Combined Maritime Forces.

"Piracy is an international crime that threatens global commerce. Shipping companies have to understand that naval forces can not be everywhere. Self-protection measures are the best way to protect their vessels, their crews and their cargo."

Out of 15 recent pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden, at least 10 involved ships operating outside the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) recommended traffic corridor or failing to employ recommended self-protection measures, making them more vulnerable to a successful attack.

"Most notably, none of the vessels had embarked security teams. Embarked security teams would have prevented these successful attacks," said Gortney. "Companies don't think twice about using security guards to protect their valuable facilities ashore. Protecting valuable ships and their crews at sea is no different."

To put the challenge into geographic perspective, the area involved off the coast of Somalia and Kenya as well as the Gulf of Aden equals more than 1.1 million square miles. That is roughly four times the size of the U.S. state of Texas or the size of the Mediterranean and Red Seas combined.

In response to a noticeable increase in piracy attempts, the Combined Maritime Forces directed Aug. 22 the establishment of a maritime security patrol area (MSPA), a moveable area overlaying the IMO's recommended traffic corridor. Merchant mariners have been actively encouraged to travel through the IMO-designated traffic corridor and employ reasonable self-protection measures to deter piracy attempts.

"The sea is the lifeblood of our global economy, and it is appropriate the coalition, NATO and other international partners work together to address this problem," said Royal Navy Commodore Tim Lowe, deputy commander, Combined Maritime Forces. "The reduction in the rate of successful piracy attempts shows that the coalition's efforts to deter and disrupt piracy while supporting the shipping industry as they implement appropriate self-protection measures is working."

In addition to coalition naval forces, ships and aircraft from several other nations, including a NATO task force, are operating in the region. Their ranks are soon to be augmented by an European Union force of an undetermined composition. While no formal agreement exists between the navies, communication has been constant and effective to ensure optimal use of assets in a unified goal.

"While a military force cannot solve the problem, the solution lies ashore, we welcome the assistance of additional forces," said Lowe. "The long-term solution to piracy requires an international and interagency response. More forces allow us to address this issue and 'hold ground' while also continuing our ongoing maritime security operations in the area."

As it is evident with the attack on Sirius Star, increasingly daring attacks are being conducted by Somali pirates on a variety of merchant vessels. On Nov. 11, a United Kingdom warship successfully thwarted a pirate attack on a Danish shipping vessel and boarded the pirate ship responsible. During the course of the boarding, the team engaged the pirates in self-defense resulting in a number of fatalities. Such incidents highlight the complications associated with operating in this environment and the need for a permanent and effective land-based solution to the security situation in the region.

Coalition maritime forces conduct maritime security operations under international maritime conventions to develop security, which promotes stability and global prosperity in the maritime environment. These operations complement the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations.
... From Combined Maritime Forces Public Affairs
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
12:05pm CST

About Photo: File Photo of Somali Pirates pictured from a US Navy Ship

> has this report up on their website late this Tuesday morning and it starts off like this... A hijacked Saudi super-tanker, carrying 100 million dollars of oil, anchored Tuesday off a notorious Somali pirate port as sea gangs struck again and seized a Hong Kong cargo ship...
Read the full report at link below...
Saudi super-tanker taken to Somali pirate lair
> Reuters brings us this bit of info today...
The following are details of the pirates who hijacked a Saudi supertanker with a $100 million oil cargo, the boldest such attack yet and the culmination of several years' increasing activity...
Click it out at link below...
FACTBOX: Who are the pirates off Somalia's coast?
> has the following report...
Sirius Star at anchor off Somalia say owners - Another large vessel believed captured in the Gulf of Aden
> has this take on the Iranian Cargo Vessel hijacking... A cargo vessel operated by an Iranian firm has been hijacked off the Somali coast, the US Navy confirmed Tuesday, in the latest seizure by pirates operating out of the African country...
Read the rest of this short report at link below...
Pirates hijack another cargo vessel near Somalia, US Navy says

Post Update:
, November 19, 2008

* brings us today’s update...
As Saudi Aramco awaited word from the hijackers on its supertanker Sirius Star, Wednesday, the White House said the US would try to get the ship and its 25 crewmembers back to safety... An Aramco spokesman said the company hoped to hear from the hijackers later on Wednesday. One Somali website said the pirates were demanding a ransom of $250 million... Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal said: “I know that the owners of the tanker, they’re negotiating on the issue.”...
Read the rest at link below...
Ransom talks on – Saud

Why do I get the feeling that there is more behind this story than just Somali Pirates!

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