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from Al Jazeera

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2008/11/2008111813232187757.html

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Seized tanker anchors off Somalia

The Sirius Star holds more than a quarter of

Saudi Arabia's daily oil exports [AFP]

A Saudi supertanker hijacked by pirates with a $100 million oil cargo has anchored off Somalia, the US navy has said.

The Sirius Star is the biggest vessel ever hijacked. It was seized in the Indian Ocean off east Africa on Sunday in the boldest attack by pirates operating from lawless Somalia.

"We can confirm the ship is anchoring off the Somali coast at Haradheere," Lieutenant Nathan Christensen, a spokesman for the US Fifth Fleet, said on Tuesday.

Haradheere is situated roughly in the centre of Somalia's coastline.

The Saudi authorities have called the hijacking an outrageous act, with the foreign minister saying the kingdom would now throw its weight behind an international crackdown on piracy.

Prince Saud al-Faisal, the foreign minister, said on Tuesday Saudi Arabia would back a European-led initiative to step up security in shipping lanes off Africa's east coast.

"This is an initiative that we are going to join and so are many other countries of the Red Sea," he told a news conference in Athens.

'Outrageous'

"This outrageous act by the pirates, I think, will only reinforce the resolve of the countries of the Red Sea and internationally to fight piracy."

The vessel is owned by Saudi oil giant Aramco and was fully loaded when it was attacked more than 450 nautical miles southeast of Mombasa.

"All 25 crew members on board are believed to be safe," Vela International, the shipping arm of Saudi Aramco, said in a statement.

"At this time, Vela is awaiting further contact from the pirates in control of the vessel."

Saudi foreign minister Saud al-Faisal said the hijacking was an outrageous act [AFP] Richard Mitchelson, a former special forces soldier and security consultant based in Singapore, told Al Jazeera that the pirates have refined their technique over time.

"They have a lot of larger vessels," he said.

"They use a mother craft so they can position themselves in open water, then they use smaller, faster speedboats and use caving ladders to gain access to the decks [of the vessels they target]. Once they are on, it is pretty easy. They are well armed.

"They have access to GPS [global positioning system] and satellite phones ... I'm sure they would have some form of intelligence as to which vessels are coming their way."

The pirates have driven up insurance costs, forced some ships to go round South Africa instead of through the Suez Canal and secured millions of dollars in ransoms.

The capture of the Sirius Star is the culmination of several years' increasing activity.

'Jackpot'

"The latest attack looks like a deliberate two fingers from some very bright Somalis. Anyone who describes them as a bunch of camel herders needs to think again," a Nairobi-based Somalia specialist said.

The seizure was carried out despite an international naval response, including from the Nato alliance and European Union, to protect one of the world's busiest shipping areas.

"The world has never seen anything like this ... The Somali pirates have hit the jackpot"

Andrew Mwangura, co-ordinator of the East African Seafarers' Association

US, French and Russian warships are also off Somalia.

Andrew Mwangura, co-ordinator of the East African Seafarers' Association, said: "The world has never seen anything like this ... The Somali pirates have hit the jackpot."

The association, based in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa, has been monitoring piracy for years.

Mwangura said he thought a hijacked Nigerian tug was a "mother-ship" for the November 15 seizure.

"The supertanker was fully loaded, so it was probably low in the water and not that difficult to board," he said, adding that the pirates probably used a ladder or hooked a rope to the side.

The Sirius Star, weighing 318,000 tonnes and flagged in Liberia, is operated by Dubai-based Vela International.

The crew members come from Croatia, Britain, the Philippines, Poland and Saudi Arabia.

The tanker can hold up to two million barrels of oil - more than one quarter of Saudi Arabia's daily exports.

It had been heading for the US via the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa, instead of heading through the Gulf of Aden and the Suez Canal.

Another hijack

Meanwhile, the official Chinese news agency, Xinhua, reported on Tuesady that a Hong Kong cargo ship Delight had been hijacked by pirates in the Gulf of Aden near the Yemen coast.

Xinhua said the ship, with 25 crew members, was carrying 33,000 tonnes of wheat and was heading for the Bandar Abbas port of Iran.

Last week, the European Union started a security operation off the coast of Somalia to combat growing piracy and protect ships carrying aid agency deliveries.

It is the EU's first-ever naval mission.

Pirates are well organised in the Horn of Africa, the area where Somalia's northeastern tip juts into the Indian Ocean.

Somalia has had no effective government since the 1991 overthrow of Mohamed Siad Barre, the former president, touched off a bloody power struggle that has defied numerous attempts to restore stability.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

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jyHyij2fZnY

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what exactly are they going to do with all that oil?

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ya know....sell it on the black market, use for ransom money...lots of shit. I think they finally bit off a bit more than they could chew because they are going to bring the saudis into the fight along with a lot of red sea states.

they also stole a shit load of wheat from the chinese today.

thats gangsta shit

these stupid pirates are about to have the whole world after them. Who is gonna protect them? I for one would not want to fuck with the US and Russian Fed naval fleets, let alone all of their allies

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ya know....sell it on the black market, use for ransom money...lots of shit. I think they finally bit off a bit more than they could chew because they are going to bring the saudis into the fight along with a lot of red sea states.

it seems like they will most likely be raided and overtaken...these guys are ballsy tho

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It's only a matter of time

PvN1Craig.jpg

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i would pay top watch that movie

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Whenever you hear about these Somali pirates, it ends up being about 5 somalis with 3 AKs and an RPG in a rubber dingy who manage to comandeer something huge.

I don't know how they do it.

Also, ships should have military escort or loads of armed guards.

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yeah you think with all the eehhhraabb monnnaaaiii they'd have some ridiculous US support services. People aint protecting their interests

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yo, now that i think about it, could this all be a clever ploy to bring gas prices back up?

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I think in this day and age a rag tag group of dudes who can still pirate and heist huge ass tankers is badass as fuck.

I highly doubt the oil and tanker has any material value to the pirates since they don't have a market to unload it. Considering that the tanker costs around 150 mil with a 100 mil of oil on it the Saudis would gladly pay a couple mil to get it back in one piece.

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um yeah i think that is the idea

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whatever you believe about it, 9/11 hijackers didn't exactly employ amazing technology or much if any firepower.

Whenever you hear about these Somali pirates, it ends up being about 5 somalis with 3 AKs and an RPG in a rubber dingy who manage to comandeer something huge.

I don't know how they do it.

Also, ships should have military escort or loads of armed guards.

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Um, I doubt it.

yeah obviously

its pretty implied that they use it for ransom money

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Guest Glue

what are they going to say

"give us 100 million dollars american"

and

"we won't_____?"

dump the oil in the ocean?

Shoot all the barrels?

Blow it up the oil?

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the pirates have a lot of incentive to go after these boats. they've been paid ransom on virtually all of the captures they've made so far this year, often in the millions of dollars. what's special about this particular incident is the fact that it was pretty far out to sea when they got boarded, which marks an advance in pirates' capabilities.

this case, however, is so high-profile that I feel it'll end up like the other hijacked ship (with the 32 tanks) in a long, drawn-out standoff. or maybe they'll get their shit pushed in. who knows.

big ups to kixslf making a current event thread

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Whenever you hear about these Somali pirates, it ends up being about 5 somalis with 3 AKs and an RPG in a rubber dingy who manage to comandeer something huge.

I don't know how they do it.

Also, ships should have military escort or loads of armed guards.

never underestimate your enemy.

also, some amazing photos from the guardian

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/gallery/2008/nov/18/piracy-somalia-gallery?picture=339805476

"In 2008, the group attacked 29 ships, earning $10m (£6m). Abdul Hassan, who pocketed $350,000, arrived with a small crew on a beach near Hobyo."

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thought it was butt pirates when i saw the OP.

those be fightin words, prepare yourself to engage in a robotpirateninja deathmatch

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i just think that its gangster to have a lawless land of looters and pirateers in this current day and age

mother fuckas gettin they swindle on OG jack sparrow jump off

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def a headache for the international community tho

the US needs to send in their paramilitary forces and just fuck those pirates up

too bad that will never happen

ps iran test launches new defense missile

russia hints at working with nato

and israel is suffocating the gaza strip creating the foundation for a full fledged apartheid state

a pm who isnt really pm and a runner up who couldnt form a coalition governemtn

atleast the civil wars of the former yugoslavia have began to dissappear

now we just have global economic failure

a G20 incapable of recognizing new members such as Brasil as meaningful players on the global scale

the kremlin passing legislature that paves the way for putin to become president for another term

the power vacuum [impending] in North Korea

and pirates

good ol motherfucking pirates

i love it

welcome to the future my friends

atleast we got obama

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never underestimate your enemy.

also, some amazing photos from the guardian

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/gallery/2008/nov/18/piracy-somalia-gallery?picture=339805476

"In 2008, the group attacked 29 ships, earning $10m (£6m). Abdul Hassan, who pocketed $350,000, arrived with a small crew on a beach near Hobyo."

I still fail to see how a few guys on a dingy can take a massive boat.

fair enough you be shit scared about getting shot at, and the boat getting hit by a rocket, but one hole isn't going to sink you and they'll run out of bullets anyway.

may as well take a sharp turn and try to crush them with your big ol' oil tanker or whatever

different story if they're on a bigger boat though

I say this being cosy, sitting behind a computer in a medical school, when i know in real life i'd be giving pirate handjobs quicker than you can say oil.

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http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/20/world/africa/20pirate.html?hp

NEW DELHI — Days after pirates seized a Saudi-owned supertanker carrying more than $100 million worth of crude oil, the Indian Navy said on Wednesday that one of its warships fought a four-to-five-hour battle at sea with would-be hijackers in the Gulf of Aden, sinking one suspect vessel in flames and forcing the pirates to abandon a second as they fled at high speed.

Skip to next paragraph

Related

Pirates Briefly Rattle Oil Market (November 17, 2008)

Maritime Hijackings Are Decreasing in Asia (November 19, 2008)

Times Topics: Piracy at Sea

The New York Times

The drama on the night-time waters of the Indian Ocean late Tuesday underscored the growing international concern at the audacity with which armed pirates, mostly based in Somalia, range across vast areas of the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, attacking at will.

In a statement on Wednesday, Cmdr. Nirad Kumar Sinha, a spokesman for the Indian Navy, said the INS Tabar, encountered a flotilla of three pirate vessels some 320 miles south west of the Omani coast in the Gulf of Aden on Tuesday evening. One ship was apparently a “mother ship†used by pirates to extend their range, with two speedboats in tow. The suspect vessel matched the description of a pirate vessel issued by international anti-piracy authorities, Commander Sinha said.

He said the ‘“whole operation lasted four to five hours†and was “the first such incident in which the Indian Navy sank the pirate’s mother ship.â€

When the Indian vessel tried to halt the ship, he said, “the vessel’s threatening response was that she would blow up the naval warship if it closed her.â€

“Pirates were seen roaming on the upper deck of this vessel with guns and rocket propelled grenade launchers. The vessel continued its threatening calls and subsequently fired upon INS Tabar. On being fired upon, INS Tabar retaliated in self defense and opened fire on the mother vessel,†Commander Sinha said..

“As a result of the firing by INS Tabar, fire broke out on the vessel and explosions were heard, possibly due to exploding ammunition that was stored on the vessel. Almost simultaneously, two speedboats were observed breaking off to escape. The ship chased the first boat which was later found abandoned. The other boat made good its escape into darkness,†he said.

The Indian account suggested that pirates had attacked the Tabar, deployed to repulse pirates — equalling the brazenness of the hijacking on Sunday of the Sirius Star, a 1,080-foot supertanker with 25 crew on board.

At least eight ships have been hijacked in a vast expanse of ocean off east Africa in the past two weeks.

On the same day the Indian Navy engaged the pirates, a cargo ship registered in Hong Kong and loaded with 36,000 tons of wheat was seized in the Gulf of Aden, the official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported. The vessel, with 25 crew aboard, was headed for the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.

That hijacking was followed by a report Wednesday, still to be confirmed by Greek authorities, that a Greek bulk carrier had also been seized in the Gulf of Aden. A regional maritime group based in Mombasa, Kenya, told Reuters 23 to 25 crew were aboard that ship. The Associated Press also reported that a Thai fishing boat with 16 crew members had been seized off the coast of Somalia on Tuesday.

International anti-piracy patrols, deployed since August, have had some success.

Last week, a British frigate, the Cumberland, launched speed-boats to intercept a hijacked dhow, exchanging fire with pirates before British naval personnel boarded it, the British Ministry of Defense said Tuesday. Eight alleged hijackers were captured and handed over to Kenyan authorities on Tuesday. Two people believed to be Somali nationals were killed in the operation, the ministry said.

On Wednesday, the fate of the supertanker Sirius Star, now anchored off the coast of Somalia, remained unclear. The ship’s owner said Tuesday it was working to free the 25-member crew. By Wednesday, there had been no reports that the hijackers had made known ransom demands.

The owner, Vela International, a subsidiary of the Saudi Arabia-based oil giant Saudi Aramco, said in a statement on Tuesday that the company was awaiting further contact from the pirates who seized the vessel about 480 miles off the coast of Somalia.The supertanker, about the same length as an American Nimitz class aircraft carrier, is the largest ship known to have been seized by pirates, and it was fully loaded with two million barrels of oil.

The crew members are citizens of Britain, Poland, Croatia, the Philippines and Saudi Arabia.

Lt. Nathan Christensen, deputy spokesman for the United States Fifth Fleet, said that the tanker had been anchored within sight of the coastal town of Xarardheere, 260 miles north of Mogadishu, the Somali capital, and part of a region known as a pirates’ sanctuary. .

While most of the hijackings have taken place in the Gulf of Aden, which separates Somalia from Yemen, the Saudi tanker was seized hundreds of miles to the south in open ocean as it headed toward the Cape of Good Hope.

“It is the first attack of its kind in which such a big vessel has been hijacked so far away from the coast,†said Cyrus Mody, of the International Maritime Bureau, which monitors global piracy. “It shows that the pirates now have the capability and capacity to sustain themselves in deep sea until the vessel actually comes by.†.

This year, at least 92 ships have been attacked in and around the Gulf of Aden, more than triple the number in 2007, according to the International Maritime Bureau At least 14 of those ships, carrying more than 250 crew members, are still in the control of hijackers.

An estimated $25 million to $30 million has been paid in ransom to Somali pirates this year, according to a report released Tuesday by Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general. He said that piracy was weakening the Somali government, which has been outgunned and outmaneuvered by the agile pirates.

Many of the captured ships sit a few miles off a 230-mile stretch of Somali coastline between Xarardheere and the town of Eyl, residents of the towns say. A Ukrainian vessel that was hijacked in September, loaded with tanks and other military equipment and weapons, is not far from the Saudi tanker.

Multinational naval vessels have thwarted two dozen attacks since August. But the area includes 2.5 million square miles of sea, “and we can’t be everywhere at once,†said Lieutenant Christensen of the Fifth Fleet.

Hari Kumar reported from New Delhi. Alan Cowell contributed from Paris, Mark McDonald from Hong Kong and Sharon Otterman from New York.

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Whenever you hear about these Somali pirates, it ends up being about 5 somalis with 3 AKs and an RPG in a rubber dingy who manage to comandeer something huge.

I don't know how they do it.

Also, ships should have military escort or loads of armed guards.

excellent description, it was exactly what i was picturing in my head

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