Somali Pirates Hijack Oil Tanker In Arabian Sea; Indians, Filipinos Among Captives

on May 12 2012 6:54 AM
Somali pirates
Somali pirates are rife in the lawless stretch of the Horn of Africa Reuters

Pirates based on the coast of northern Somalia hijacked a Greek-owned oil tanker in the Arabian Sea with a crew of 15, mostly Indians and Filipinos.

The attack on the Liberian-flagged MT Smyrni, carrying 135,000 tonnes of oil, is the first successful hijack attempt by pirates on an oil tanker off the Somali Peninsula in more than a year, the Guardian reported.

The vessel's manager, Dynacom Tankers Management, said they lost contact with the crew of the MT Smyrni, a Suezmax-class tanker, following the attack off Oman at 11.15 GMT on Thursday.

The Liberian-flagged tanker, the MT Smyrni, is carrying a cargo of 135,000 tonnes of crude oil, Dynacom said.

Though Dynacom hasn't given further details on where the vessel was headed, Somali piracy expert Andrew Mwangura said the tanker could be sailing toward the Somali coastline.

Aboard are nine Indians and about eight Filipinos, Mwangura, who is maritime editor of Somalia Report, said adding: It is headed to Somalia.

The tanker reportedly had enforced anti-piracy measures and had managed to evade the first boarding attempt, OceanUSlive.Org, a social networking site for the maritime industry reported.

Dynacom didn't disclose whether the tanker employed private security personnel.

The attack was one of the four that occurred in the Arabian Sea in the last two days following a lull in pirate activities in the region. The number of attacks had significantly reduced after several countries made regulatory changes to allow ships using their flags to sail with armed guards.

According to International Maritime Organization's statistics 7 ships and some 300 crew are currently in the captivity of Somali pirates.

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