Thursday, November 20, 2008

"Seafaring Thieves"

Somalian pirates have been hijacking precious cargo ships for the last decade. But, in the last year and especially this past week the pirates are gaining global notice by holding a Saudi Arabian oil tanker, the Sirius Star, hostage. The Sirius Star holds over a quarter of Saudi Arabia's daily output of oil worth more than a $100 million.

The Somalian pirates take these giant cargo ships hostage by deploying several speed boats to ride around the slow-moving non-protected tankers forcing them to stop. The pirates then board the ships with grappling hooks. They hold crews hostage with automatic weapons (AK-47s and Uzis) and grenade launchers (primarily used to force ships to stop).

Because, the Somalian government is so unorganized their costal waters and ports are not protected. This allows the pirates to dock the hostage ships until ransoms are answered. In past years the pirates have netted ransoms in the 10's and 100 thousands; however, this year they have hit huge new totals. $1 million ransoms have been collected. And if the negotiating Saudi Arabian oil companies submit they could possibly be paying $10-25 million for the return of the Sirius Star.

Pirates roaming the seas. It's like the oldddd days. 

John Trevor The Albuquerque Journal

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