Modern Pirates
November 18, 2008 10:31 AM   Subscribe

Shiver me timbers! Pirates hijacked a Saudi tanker loaded with $100 million worth of oil. The Sirius Star, a very large crude carrier (VLCC), was captured Nov. 15 about 450 miles southeast of the Kenyan coast and is now anchored off Somalia, the modern-day pirates lair. Shipowner Vela International, a subsidiary of Aramco, the world's largest oil company, says it believes the crew of 25 is safe. This is the latest incident in a growing crisis.

Piracy off Somali has doubled in 2008. NATO, which is now patrolling the Gulf of Aden, has counted 88 attacks. Of those, 10 ships, including the Sirius Star, were hijacked in the past week.

You can track the growing crisis here. The U.S. Navy has collected good photos of the pirates in action here, here and here.

The surge in attacks is a sign of desperation. On Nov. 11, British and Russian warships rescued the Danish cargo ship Powerful from an attack by armed gunman aboard a Yemeni-registered dhow.

In September, Somali pirates calling themselves the Central Region Coast Guard hijacked the Ukrainian freighter Faina carrying tanks, grenade launchers and guns and demanded $20 million cash. These Somali pirates have their own spokesman.

The pirates say they want money to buy food. Drought-stricken Somalia is being pushed to the brink of famine. UNICEF reported in August that half the country's population -- 3.6 million people -- will soon be totally dependent on food aid.

Says UNICEF's Somalia representative: “We have never been in a situation so severe. Never, ever before."
posted by up in the old hotel (6 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Ye might append yer post as a comment to yon recent postie, arrr. -- cortex

These guys are giving pirates a bad name!
posted by diogenes at 10:34 AM on November 18, 2008

My pirate post feels a day less modern than this one.
posted by gman at 10:35 AM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

Yohoho below.
posted by ericb at 10:36 AM on November 18, 2008

Unless they have a haunted cove, isn't it a little tough to hide something like that?
posted by stifford at 10:38 AM on November 18, 2008

Excellent excellent post post!!
posted by Nick Verstayne at 10:46 AM on November 18, 2008

I think the pirates read the post yesterday and said, "That's nothin' we'll take one of the longest ships in the world!"
posted by lee at 10:57 AM on November 18, 2008

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