Efforts are being stepped up to reach a fully-laden supertanker that has been hijacked by pirates off the coast of Africa.
Several Western navies are trying to find the Sirius Star, which is carrying 25 crew and 75 million euros worth of oil. It is reported the vessel has been taken to a pirate haven off northern Somalia. Policing operations there are difficult because the country has no effective central government and is considered largely lawless. This is the largest ever seizure of its kind by pirates, and comes despite increased policing by Western governments whose navies now have regular patrols in these waters. A recent action plan agreed between France and Spain is just one of several now in operation to try to stamp out increasing pirate attacks. Some reports say the owners of the ship are negotiating directly with the pirates.