Somali pirates hijacked a US-bound supertanker carrying $20m in crude oil on Sunday – and the unarmed crew could do little to stop them. “Crews on oil tankers aren’t allowed to smoke above deck, much less carry guns, for fear of igniting the ship’s payload. That’s one of the main reasons Somali pirates met little resistance when they hijacked a U.S.-bound supertanker carrying $20m in crude. The Greek-flagged tanker — traveling from Saudi Arabia to New Orleans — had no escort when it was hijacked Sunday because naval warships are stretched too thin. The problem has been further exacerbated because pirates have expanded their operations to hundreds of miles out at sea. The hijacking, one year after seizure of a Saudi supertanker led to heightened international efforts to fight piracy off the Horn of Africa, has highlighted the difficulty of keeping ships safe in the region — particularly oil tankers.”
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