The Saudi owners of a massive oil tanker hijacked by Somali pirates have confirmed they’ve begun direct negotiations for the release of the 25 crew. The seizure of the Sirius Star, loaded with two million barrels of crude oil, has raised serious concerns about shipping in the region. The pirates boast complete impunity: as if it were not enough to hijack a fully-laden tanker, they have gone on to seize a further three ships.
The Sirius has been taken to the pirate’s haven of Harardhere, despite a recent crackdown in the region by foreign navies. Somali officials are accused of doing little to stop the pirates, but one minister in the country’s northern Puntland region says foreign navies simply cannot do their jobs.
The Puntland Fisheries Minister said: “We suggest that international shipping companies use private security companies, instead of depending on the false promises of the coalition forces. We promise to welcome the private security companies and work with them at sea and on land.”
The law in neighbouring countries is being called on, with eight suspected pirates appearing in court in Kenya. The British navy captured them, and killed two others, last week.