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Somali Pirates Seize Greek-Owned Tanker


Picture released by the German Bundeswehr shows a pirates' boat in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia (March 2009 File)

Picture released by the German Bundeswehr shows a pirates' boat in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia (March 2009 File)

Maritime authorities say Greek-flagged Maran Centaurus was captured Sunday in the Indian Ocean, northeast of the Seychelles islands.

Somali pirates have hijacked an oil supertanker with 28 crew members on board.

Maritime authorities say the Greek-flagged Maran Centaurus was captured Sunday in the Indian Ocean, northeast of the Seychelles islands.

The tanker, which can transport more than 2 million barrels of oil, was sailing from Kuwait to the United States.

The European Union's anti-piracy force says the crew includes one Romanian, two Ukrainians, nine Greeks and 16 Filipinos.

Andrew Mwangura of the Kenya-based East African Seafarers' Assistance Program says the hijacking is a "jackpot to the pirates" because a tanker full of oil is worth millions of dollars.

It could also pose a huge security and environmental threat.

This is the second time Somali pirates have seized a large oil tanker. Last year, the pirates hijacked the Saudi-owned Sirius Star. They eventually released the ship for a reported $3 million ransom.

World powers, including the European Union, NATO and the United States are running naval patrols off the Somali coast in an effort to protect commercial shipping.

In response, the pirates have extended their reach, attacking ships up to 1,800 kilometers from Somalia, deep in the Indian Ocean.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.

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