Monday, November 17, 2008

Tanker hijacking pushes up oil price

Described as “daring” the hijack of the Sirius Star seriously threatens the oil industry. As it headed past the coast of Kenya the hijackers pounced on the tanker carrying thousands of barrels of oil, said to be a quarter of the daily Saudi output. Reports that the crew and ship had been freed turned out to be false. The latest information available suggests the ship is being steered towards Somalia’s coast and the small port of Eyl. There is little information known as to the fate of the 25 crew and the British Foreign Office has said they are trying to find out more.

Lt Commander Jane Campbell of the Fifth Fleet, which patrols the waters near the Gulf, described the situation as “a difficult scenario”. The Fifth fleet command say they will not intervene and are only monitoring the ship’s movement adding that they did not see it as a threat. However with 84 ships attacked off the coast of Somalia and with 12 vessels still in hijackers hands, the threat posed by the Somalian rebels is clear. The Sirius Star is likely to be another vessel joining the haul of ships in the rebels’ hands. What they do with the ship and its massive cargo of crude oil is unclear, but their actions have already affected oil markets where the price lifted above $58 per barrel [Channel Four News].

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