Somali Pirates Hijack Greek Oil Tanker

1 December 2009 (Last Updated December 1st, 2009 18:30)

Somali pirates have hijacked a Greek oil tanker off the coast of Somalia. The full tanker, which has a crew of 28 men onboard, was carrying oil to New Orleans, US, from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, according to the EU Naval task force (Navfor). The Maran Centaurus was about 1,300km (800 miles)

Somali pirates have hijacked a Greek oil tanker off the coast of Somalia. The full tanker, which has a crew of 28 men onboard, was carrying oil to New Orleans, US, from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, according to the EU Naval task force (Navfor).

The Maran Centaurus was about 1,300km (800 miles) off Somalia when captured. The ship is believed to be one of the largest yet seized by Somali pirates.

About nine pirates attacked the ship close to the Seychelles, a spokesman for the Greek coastguard told Reuters. The ship was moving at a speed of between 11 and 15 knots (20-27km/h) when attacked, according to other media reports.

A Greek navy frigate, involved with the Navfor operation, is now shadowing the vessel, reports say. Navfor is one of the several international naval forces patrolling the oceans near Somalia to try to prevent the capture of ships using vital sea routes.