Saudi super tanker seized by pirates is off the coast of Somalia
Oil-laden Saudi super tanker Sirius Star seized by pirates out at sea was Tuesday off the coast of Somalia and the crew is unharmed, the US Navy and the ship's operators said. The 318,000 deadweight tonnes Very Large Crude Carrier, the largest vessel to be seized by pirates in the region, was hijacked 450 miles east of Kenya on Sunday.
"The ship is off the coast of Somalia at large, and still under the control of the pirates. There is no information yet about their demands," a spokeswoman for the Bahrain-based US Fifth Fleet told AFP. She had earlier said the huge, oil laden prize, which is three times the size of a US aircraft carrier, was believed heading towards the Somali port of Eyl.
The vessel's operating company Vela International said crew members are "remaining safe" aboard the ship. "They are in good health, none of them has been harmed," said a company official.
The company said the tanker was loaded at its full capacity with two million barrels of oil, valued at 100 million dollars.
The hijacking of the Sirius Star was the furthest out to sea Somali pirates have attacked a ship, according the US Navy. The top US military officer, Admiral Michael Mullen, said he was "stunned" by the reach of the Somali pirates. "I'm stunned by the range of it, less so than I am the size," Mullen stated. The pirates are "very good at what they do. They're very well armed. Tactically, they are very good."
Sirius Star, which is owned by Saudi giant oil company Aramco, carried 25 crew members from Croatia, Britain, Philippines, Poland and Saudi Arabia, according to a US Navy statement. The South Korea-built ship, launched earlier this year, is operated by Vela International and registered in Liberia.