Somali pirates hijack supertanker

Piracy off the coast of Somalia remains big business as two supertankers get hijacked in as many days.

By TheStreet Staff Feb 9, 2011 1:55PM

By Scott Eden, TheStreet


With political unrest continuing across the Middle East and North Africa, a crucial entry point to the Suez Canal remains under siege as Somali pirates continue to land big game in the waters off the coast of Somalia.


On Wednesday, a gang of pirates hijacked a supertanker carrying a reported $200 million worth of crude oil. Called the Irene SL, the tanker has a crew of 25 and is owned by a private Greek shipping concern, First Navigation Special Maritime Enterprises. It was on its way to the Gulf of Mexico.


Despite a number of successful anti-pirate counterattacks over the last year by naval forces patrolling the region, piracy off Somalia hasn't abated. The Irene was the second supertanker nabbed by suspected Somali pirates in as many days.


Also, on Wednesday, hijackers released a South Korean fishing vessel after holding it for four months.

As of Feb. 8, suspected Somali pirates were holding 31 ships and an estimated 700 hostages, according to the Piracy Reporting Center of the International Maritime Bureau, in Kuala Lumpur.


Already in 2011, eight ships have been hijacked and 45 have been attacked by armed gangs said to come from Somalia, the failed state on the horn of Africa.      


Ransom rates have undergone a kind of inflation, approaching the tens of millions of dollars, depending on the size of the ship, the patience level of its owner, the value of its cargo and the number of its crew members. So common have hijackings become in the waters around the Horn of Africa, home to some of the busiest transport lanes in the world, that pirate gangs have hit the same ships twice.

Almost every major shipping company in the world has suffered an attack, including DryShips (DRYS), Navios Maritime Partners (NMM), Excel Maritime (EXM), Frontline (FRO) and Genco Shipping & Trading (GNK).


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Feb 9, 2011 2:24PM
killing the pirates on site will quickly put an end to this.  "accidently" shoot them all during the next takeover or ransom payoff
Feb 9, 2011 7:31PM

Back in the day, it was fairly common practice to disguise some fighting ships as merchant vessels, send them into pirate-infested waters, and lure the pirates into a trap.  I see no reason why these tactics could not be reused.


Dress up a yacht, hide a few .50 cal machine guns or rocket launchers under a tarp, then go out into these areas and throw a little party: "Yoo-hoo!  Big fat rich prize for the taking!  Come and get it!"


Then when they come, sink the buggers.

Feb 9, 2011 6:43PM
It's time to arm the ships and have a take no prisoners policy.
Feb 9, 2011 6:38PM

Should have never paid ranson. end of problem.

Now just pay a few people with AK47 or that newer 50 Caliber gun. No problem. want even get close enough to steal ship.

Feb 10, 2011 10:11AM

Dear USN,


Recommission the USS Iowa, send her over to the coastline.  Drop a few salvo's on their ports and then SINK every vessel in the port where the hijacked ship is taken.  Place a 24 Marines on each ship and ARM them.


And pirates should just be summarily tried and hung at sea.  No reason to even bring them back to shore. 


Jes, the USN used to be a fighting force.  What would Halsey do?

Feb 9, 2011 7:22PM

Grenades dropped in their boats will fix some of these issues.  If they have no boats they cant go out to sea to hijack ships.


Rocket launchers with heat seeking missiles is a very easy way to guarantee you sink their boats and they wont be fixing them.  Even sticks of dynamite would work well. 


If I was on a ship going through that area I wouldnt agree to it unless I had something that would allow me to sink a ship.

Feb 10, 2011 3:26PM
great ideas for capture and trying of pirates, it seem's being a criminal these day's is a great job to have as the consequences seem to be weak; i do believe the politicians have taken to heart of how they should be treated if caught in a criminal act and so they have relaxed the law's just to prove they are listening!!
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