Monday, November 17, 2008

The Oil Pirates

The Somali pirates have really pulled one off this time — they’ve hijacked a supertanker full of oil. And, as poetic justice, it’s owned by the Saudis:

Supertanker Loaded With Oil Hijacked

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Somali pirates hijacked a supertanker off the Kenyan coast, seizing the Saudi-owned ship loaded with crude and its 25-member crew, the U.S. navy said Monday.

Lt. Nathan Christensen, a spokesman for the U.S. navy’s 5th Fleet, said the pirates hijacked the Sirius Star -- a newly commissioned ship owned by Saudi oil company Aramco -- 830 kilometres southeast of Mombasa, Kenya.

He said the pirates were taking the ship to a Somali port of Eyl where hijacked vessels are often held.

Somali pirates have seized several ships off the Horn of Africa coast in the past week, but the latest hijacking -- of a tanker the size of an aircraft carrier -- marked a dramatic escalation.
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The 330-metre tanker seized Saturday can carry about two million barrels of oil.

Christensen said the Sirius Star was carrying crude at the time of hijacking, but he did know how much. He also had no details about where the ship was sailing from and where it was headed.

The ship was sailing under a Liberian flag. The crew includes citizens of Croatia, Britain, the Philippines, Poland and Saudi Arabia.


Calls went unanswered at Vela International, the Dubai-based marine company that operated the ship for Aramco.

As pirates have become better armed and equipped, they have sailed farther out to sea in search of bigger targets, including oil tankers.

Previous posts about the Somali pirates:

2005 Nov 5 Barbary Pirates Redux
    8 Update on the Somali Pirates
    14 The Mother Ship
2006 Mar 24 The Jamaica-Somalia Connection
  Apr 8 The Taliban, Somali-Style
  Jul 5 Pirates in the Strait
2007 Jun 5 Somali Pirates Take Danish Hostages
    6 The Territorial Waters of a Failed State
    8 Q-Ships for the Somali Coast?
    11 Pirates Demand Ransom for Danish Seamen
    13 Q-Ships, Pirates, and the Waters off Somalia
    25 The Danica White Runs Out of Food and Water
  Jul 11 Gossip-Mongers in Denmark
    21 The Danica White: Eight Weeks and Counting
  Aug 22 The Danica White Has Been Released
  Nov 24 Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Snaps
2008 Apr 21 A Spanish Danica White?
    29 Reputed $1.2 Million Paid to Free Spanish Hostages...
  May 2 A No-Pursuit Policy for Pirates
  Aug 23 Targeting the Somali Pirates
    23 More on Task Force 150
  Sep 8 Danish Ship Averts Pirate Attacks
    11 Those Undeterred Somali Pirates
    26 The Russians are Chasing the Somali Pirates
    26 A Quarrel Among Pirates
  Oct 1 Somali Government Asks for Russian Help Against Pirates
    3 Taking Kickbacks From Pirates
    9 Those Wascally Pirates
    9 Paying the Ransom
    15 Pirates Back Down

Hat tip: JD.


christian soldier said...

Will ransom (tribute) be paid?

Kipling -again...
'We never pay any on Dane-geld (tribute)
No matter how trifling the cost.
For the end of the game is oppression and shame .
and the nation that pays it...
is LOST.'


Henrik R Clausen said...

No wonder the pirates are better armed and equipped with all that ransom money that has already gone that way. They've experienced a healthy Return on Investment and is now expanding their business. As usual.

We need to bomb them out from under their beds.

blogagog said...

Unrelated comment: GoV is playing a large part in making Charles Johnson the "Biggest Pro-Censorship Ass-Hat" of the year.

Tempers flared when he attacked The Brussels Journal, and later GoV. But now, with his whining about Robert Spencer, it's clear that he doesn't want to be a part of any solution. He just wants to complain about the problem.

Vote him up, people!

Unknown said...

Henrik R Clausen is right on this one.

We need to burn the Somali rat's nest of piracy down to the ground.

Why haven't we done so already? The lawyers at the UN and various governments have decreed that we cannot - read the following BBC article:

President Bush, already largely discredited by the conservative movement (see the latest issue of the American Conservative dated 17 November), has this one remaining chance to regain some shreds of dignity and honour for his disgraced regime: he should send the forces into Puntland with guns blazing and flatten the place. The is little question that for once, he would have 100% of the electorate behind him.

Show the thugs no mercy, and after Eyl is left for a smoking wreck, declare a unilateral 3-mile limit for the area - any unidentified boats emanating from Somalia or Puntland found outside that 3-mile limit will be blasted out of the water, with no warning shot.

No reason why American lives need be spent - naval and air bombardment could easily, in a single operation, eliminate this boil on the face of the earth. Other knaves tempted by the Somali bad example would think twice, the Republican party would gain some much-needed street cred, and - who knows? - even I might begin to look back with fondness towards the memory of the last months of Bush.

laine said...

At this point, Bush could find the cure for cancer and be criticized for it, let alone another military venture.

No, let the world's choice for POTUS, the Obama messiah TALK the pirates into regretting their wicked ways and making reparations. They'll surely respect him because he's practically a brother with his Kenyan ancestry and all...

Bilgeman said...


Vedry distressing for me to read all the media broadsides aimed at the Government(s) to do something, as if the world's navies have nothing better to do than assign a frigate to convoy ships through pirate waters 24/7/365.

All they need to do is allow us to carry arms...guns...BIG guns, and the freedom to defend ourselves by shooting and sinking any pirates who try to board us.

The problem of piracy will very quickly be reduced to a manageable minimum when word spreads that those low and slow tankers and bulkers are sporting a heavy-caliber machine gun or two and have crews armed with shotguns.

International law holds pirates to be "enemies of all humanity"...government should get the heck out of the way and let us, their intended victims, start treating them as such.

ZZMike said...

Thomas Jefferson knew how to deal with these types. Search for 'barbary pirates'.

We tried negotiation and appeasement first; that didn't work. Jefferson turned to something the pirates understood: power.

Here's the Wiki article:

Barbary Priates

Scroll down to "United States and the Barbary Wars".

"The Americans asked Adja why his government was hostile to American ships, even though there had been no provocation. The ambassador's response was reported to the Continental Congress:

It was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every mussulman who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise."

Not much has changed on their side.

Baron Bodissey said...

Bilgeman --

The problem as I understand it -- and knowledgeable readers may correct me if I'm wrong -- is that many countries have laws forbidding their vessels from arming themselves. They must rely on the navy, or be at the mercy of pirates.

I'm not sure what U.S. maritime law says, although I'm certain that some of our readers can tell me.

Bilgeman said...


This is so. Most countries are goofy about thr private ownership of firearms, and this extends to vessels making a port of call.
(Heck, the UK is now claiming it's territorial WATERS to be a "smoke-free zone",even for foreign-flag vessels, so I presume the Brit Coast Guard will be sending up FLIR-equipped patrol helicopters to catch me dragging on a Winston back on the fantail).


US maritime law allows the Master a handgun with which to defend himself,(mostly from his own crew...a holdover from the more raucous era of seafaring), but his gatt snubbie isn't going to do much good against an experienced team of flip-flop wearers sporting AK's who have already gained the decks and the house.

The arming of merchantmen has been tried before and it was largely a success,(in addition to "armed merchantman", see also "privateers"). Perhaps TOO much of a success, since it started making the Navy and the Coast Guard nervous...why would the taxpayer pay for patrol boats when they could more cheaply and effectively protect shipping by giving a slob like me a .30 caliber machine-gun and the authority to use it?

Captain USpace said...

These pirate monkeys may have bitten off more than they can chew by taking a Saudi ship. Hopefully the bombings of their bases will commence forthwith.

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
lose control of your country

allow pirate kidnappers
to be KILLED by outsiders

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
RULE the seas you pirates

steal the infidels' BIG boats

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manfromwi24 said...

We the people need to get our own version of Oil Pirates, the feds are stating bs about gas prices rising because of this and that but not in the least. These Somalians are to be commended for their actions. My blog at is where you can reply to.