17 November 2008 23:45 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Somali pirates have hijacked the MV Sirius Star, the largest oil tanker yet to be seized by gangs operating off the off the Horn of Africa, according to reports on Tuesday.
The Saturday assault occurred 450 miles (724 km) southeast of ?xml:namespace>
One of the world's largest oil tankers and owned by Aramco, the Sirius Star is 1,800 feet long, or about the length of an aircraft carrier, and can carry about 2m bbl of oil.
The ship's cargo could be worth about $100m (€80m), but the pirates would have no way of selling crude and no way to refine it in
The hijacking occurred far south of the zone patrolled by international warships in the busy Gulf of Aden shipping channel, which leads to and from the
A US Navy spokesman said that the bandits were taking the ship and its 25-man crew to a Somali port that has become a haven for seized ships and bandits trying to force ransoms for them, the Associated Press said.
Last week, pirates hijacked three chemical tankers off the Horn of Africa and freed another. On Sunday pirates freed the Hong Kong-flagged Stolt Valor and its crew after a $1.1m (€880,000) ransom was paid, according to Reuters.
The Stolt Valor was seized in September.
About 11% of the world's seaborne petroleum passes through the
The situation prompted chemical tanker group Odfjell to announce on Monday it would reroute its ships that would normally sail through the
Foreign navies have begun patrolling the Gulf but they have had only limited success.
As a result, ship owners have seen insurance premiums for coverage of passage through the Straits of Aden climb from an average of $900 to $9,000, according to reports in the Lloyd's List maritime newspaper.
($1 = €0.80)
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