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Monday, November 30, 2009

Somali Pirates: Supertanker Taken By Pirates

Reported here:
Somali pirates have captured a tanker carrying oil to the US, officials say.

The Greek-owned Maran Centaurus was about 1,300km (800 miles) off Somalia when it was hijacked on Sunday, said the EU Naval task force (Navfor).

The ship was full of oil and is believed to be one of the largest yet seized by Somali pirates. There are 28 crew members on board.

Pirate attacks have been common off the Somali coast and international navies have been deployed to counter them.

A spokesman for the Greek coastguard told Reuters news agency that about nine armed pirates attacked the ship close to the Seychelles.

As it was fully laden, it was moving quite slowly - between 11 and 15 knots (20-27km/h) - when attacked, a Navfor spokesman told the BBC.

The agency reported the Greek defence ministry as saying that a Greek navy frigate which had been involved with the Navfor operation was now shadowing the vessel.

Navfor said the ship, which has a dead weight of some 300,000 tonnes, had been sailing to New Orleans in the US from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia but was now heading towards Somalia.

Its crew is made up of 16 Filipinos, nine Greeks, two Ukrainians and one Romanian.

Maran Tankers Management, which operates the vessel, told Reuters the crew were "well".
More here and here. Low, slow, unprotected and traveling a predictable sea lane = easy pickings.

UPDATE: NY times take.

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