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Thu 4 Mar 2010 10:03 AM

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Somali pirates demand $20m for hijacked tanker

The Al Nisr Al Saudi was returning to Jeddah after making a delivery to Japan.

Somali pirates demand $20m for hijacked tanker
DANGEROUS: The waters off the Somali coast have become notorious for pirates keen to hold cargoes - and crews - for ransom. (GETTY IMAGES)

Somali pirates have demanded a $20m ransom for a Saudi product tanker hijacked in the Gulf of Aden on Monday.

Arab News reported that a spokesman for the owner of the vessel, International Bunkering had confirmed that a ransom had been offered, although he was unaware of the progress of negotiations.

The Al Nisr Al Saudi, which has a deadweight of 5,136 tonnes, was returning to Jeddah after delivering its cargo to Japan. Among its 14-strong crew are a Greek master and a number of Sri Lankan sailors.

The European naval force confirmed on Wednesday that the vessel had been seized outside the Internationally Recognised Transit Corridor (IRTC) and taken to the pirate stronghold of Garacad, on the Somali coast.

In December 2008, representatives of Saudi Aramco subsidiary Vela International struck a deal with Somali pirates to release the Sirius Star supertanker, which was carrying $100m worth of oil, in what was the world’s biggest ship hijacking.

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WORRIED IN KUWAIT 10 years ago

Politically correct idiots aka politicians run the world. We might hurt the feelings of the pirrates and vilate their civil rights. Starting killing the pirates as soon as spotted that they are armed and in a few weeks no more hijackings. The reward will be much less than the risk.