The pirates holding the Sirius Star say the supertanker’s Saudi owners have 10 days to pay a 20 million euro ransom. That is a quarter of the estimated value of the ship’s cargo. According to the Saudi Foreign Minister it is ultimately up to the company whether or not to pay.
Prince Saud al-Faisal said: “We do not like to negotiate with either terrorists or hijackers but the owners of the tanker are the owners of the tanker and they are the final arbiters of what happens.”
Yesterday NATO met in Brussels to discuss how to tackle piracy off the east African coast. It is considering more pro-active rules of engagement.
Nearly 100 ships have been attacked this year. Since the Sirius Star was seized on Saturday, four more vessels have been captured by pirates off the Somali coast, despite the presence of more than a dozen international warships.