For the second time in two days, an oil tanker, this time a super tanker, has been pirated, this time in the vast ocean waters of the Arabian Sea (Indian Ocean), about 200 miles off the coast of Oman.
The one-thousand foot long ‘Irene SL’ loaded with 2 million barrels of oil, was headed to the U.S. Gulf of Mexico region for offload when pirates hijacked the tanker.
The pirates have increasingly been working far offshore, in the largely unsecured ocean waters away from the Gulf of Aden which is notably patrolled by warships.
The location and whereabouts is currently unknown or unreported of the Greek tanker, which has a crew of 25. Pirates historically have been paid millions in ransom for the safe return of oil tankers which themselves can be filled with millions of barrels of oil worth as much as two hundred million dollars.
Reported from msnbc.com, Cmdr. Susie Thomson, spokeswoman for the multinational Combined Maritime Forces fighting piracy in the area, said the 1,000-foot-long tanker was hijacked 220 miles off Oman and was likely to have been attacked by Somali pirates. “We can only speculate as to where the ship is being taken.”
Joe Angelo, managing director of INTERTANKO, an association whose members own the majority of the world’s tanker fleet, said to Reuters, “The piracy situation is now spinning out of control into the entire Indian Ocean, if piracy in the Indian Ocean is left unabated, it will strangle these crucial shipping lanes with the potential to severely disrupt oil flows to the U.S. and to the rest of the world.”
The sudden escalation in oil tanker piracy if left unchecked will disrupt western oil supply demands and could lead to higher oil prices. Today’s oil tanker piracy of the ‘Irene SL’ amounts to one-fifth of the U.S. daily crude imports.