from danger room: Somali pirates have nabbed their biggest prize yet - a Saudi-owned supertanker, about as big as an aircraft carrier. The ocean-going hijackers managed to pull off this latest assault, on the Sirius Star, despite a swarm of international warships now working to ward off such strikes. "Our presence in the region is helping deter and disrupt criminal attacks off the Somali coast, but the situation with the Sirius Star clearly indicates the pirates’ ability to adapt their tactics and methods of attack," U.S. Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, Commander, Combined Maritime Forces, said in a statement. "Typically, pirates attack within 200 miles of the shoreline and go after smaller prey," the L.A. Times observes. The Star "held a cargo of as much as two million barrels of oil - more than one quarter of Saudi Arabia's daily production," Reuters notes. (That's a picture of her sister ship the, Capricorn Star, above.) It was hit "450 nautical miles southeast of Mombasa, Kenya, was in an area far beyond the Gulf of Aden, where most of the attacks on shipping have taken place." Citizens of Croatia, Great Britain, the Philippines, Poland, and Saudi Arabia are among the Sirius Star's crew of 25.
update: pirates strike again, seize grain ship
from danger room: Somali pirates have struck again, seizing a Hong Kong cargo ship loaded with wheat and bound for Iran. The hijacking of the Delight comes on the heels of the pirates' biggest score yet: a 1080-foot Saudi supertanker, packed with $100 million worth of oil. It's now anchored off of the Somali coast. Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen told reporters he was "stunned" by the capture of the Sirius Star tanker. "These [pirates]... have proven to be pretty capable, can get on and off lots of vessels. I mean, this is a 300,000-ton [vessel] -- three times bigger one of our aircraft carriers." Yesterday, Combined Maritime Forces commander Vice Admiral Bill Gortney told ship-owners that they had to be responsible for their own pirate-defense -- despite the swarm of warships in the region. One Norwegian shipping firm has ordered its vessels to avoid the region entirely, CNN reports.
66 companies want blackwater protection from pirates
from raw replay: In the last twelve days, nine ships have been been hijacked by pirates. The U.S. State Department says that shipping companies need to do more to protect their vessels. 66 shipping companies have approached Blackwater about using their services. Fox’s Jennifer Griffin talked with Blackwater CEO Erik Prince who explained how his company can provide private security services for shipping. This video is from Fox’s Happening Now, broadcast Nov. 20, 2008.
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