Tuesday, November 18, 2008

There's a First Time For Everything

One of my students wrote a pirate story last month --
there was treasure and intrigue -- a feather...

This from the NYTimes today...

"JIDDA, Saudi Arabia — A hijacked Saudi-owned supertanker carrying more than $100 million worth of crude oil is approaching Somali waters where it is expected to anchor so that negotiations can begin on the release of the vessel and its 25 crew, United States Navy officials said Tuesday.

The vessel, the 1,080-foot Sirius Star, is the largest ship ever seized by pirates — three times the size of an aircraft carrier, by American estimates — and was captured off the coast of Kenya.

“At this time we believe the ship is just off the Somali coast,” said Cmdr. Jane Campbell, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, stationed in Bahrain. “We don’t have a specific indication that the ship is at anchor, but if it follows the pattern of previous attacks, that’s what will happen and negotiations will begin between the pirates and the owners of ship.”

Although the supertanker’s exact location near the Somali coast is not clear, in the past most pirates have brought hijacked vessels to a stretch of coastline between Eyl in the north to the Harradera region to the south, Commander Campbell said in a telephone interview.

The hijacking follows a string of increasingly brazen attacks by Somali pirates in recent months, but this appeared to be the first time that pirates have seized a loaded oil tanker."

I didn't know anyone was still called a pirate... flags? Peglegs?
This is, of course, very awful for a lot of people.
More by way of language...
Terrorist or Pirate.
Hijacking, kidnapping, environmental blackmail...

"Only a few years ago, the average ransom was in the tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now payments can range from $500,000 to $2 million.

The pirates’ profits are set to reach a record $50 million in 2008, Somali officials say. Shipping firms are usually prepared to pay, because the sums are low compared with the value of the ships."

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