Pirates capture Saudi oil tanker off coast of Kenya

November 18th, 2008 - 8:26 am ICT by IANS  

Nairobi, Nov 18 (DPA) A Saudi Arabian oil tanker with 25-member crew has been captured by Somali pirates off the coast of the Kenya, officials in the US military and British Foreign Office has confirmed. The tanker Sirius Star was 450 nautical miles southeast of the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa when it was taken over by pirates, a spokeswoman for the US Navy’s 5th Fleet told the BBC Monday.

Crew members were said to be from Croatia, the Philippines, Poland and Saudi Arabia, while a British Foreign Office spokesman confirmed that two British citizens were also aboard.

The ship is believed to be the largest taken by pirates in a series of hijackings in the area over the past months.

Earlier hijackings prompted increased patrols by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as well as by the US and France along the Somali coast.

US 5th Fleet spokeswoman Jane Campbell stated that the US military in addition to patrolling the area had warned shipping companies to act “proactively” in the fight against pirates.

The area to be protected however was simply to large to be provided 100-percent security against piracy, she added.

The incident occurred well outside the usual danger zones off the Horn of Africa.

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