Pirates Hijack Saudi Oil Tanker
Ship loaded with oil is taken to Somalian port
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2008 11:36 AM CST
In this photo provided by the U.S. Navy, pirates leave the Ukrainian merchant vessel MV Faina for Somalia's shore Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2008 while under observation by a U.S. Navy ship.   (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason R. Zalasky)
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(Newser) – Pirates flying the Liberian flag hijacked a Saudi Arabian oil tanker today, the BBC reports. The Sirius Star is now bound for the port of Eyl, Somalia, a common destination for pirates to unload their booty. Currently holding its full load of 2 million barrels, the Sirius Star contains one-quarter of Saudi Arabia’s daily oil output. "It's the largest ship that we've seen pirated," said a US Navy spokesman.

Also worrisome was the tanker's distance from shore when it was hijacked, the LA Times reports. It was twice as far out to sea as a typical target, indicating the pirates in the region are "changing the way they're doing business," said the navy spokesman. The international crew of 25 is said to be safe. Vela International, the shipping company that owns the vessel, said it had dispatched response teams to negotiate the crew's release.