Nov 20

An undated handout photo, provided to the media on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2008, shows the Sirius Star Saudi oil supertanker. Source: U.S. Navy via Bloomberg News

Nov. 20 (Bloomberg) — Somali pirates are demanding $25 million in ransom to release an oil-laden Saudi supertanker seized off the East African coast, and called on the ship’s owners to pay up “soon.”

“What we want for this ship is only $25 million because we always charge according to the quality of the ship and the value of the product,” a man who identified himself as Abdi Salan, a member of the hijacking gang, said in a telephone interview from Harardhare. The town is in Somalia’s semi-autonomous northern Puntland region close to where the ship is anchored. He didn’t give a deadline or say what would happen if the money isn’t paid.

The Sirius Star, which belongs to Saudi Arabia’s state-owned shipping line, Vela International Marine Ltd, and its crew of 25 were seized about 420 nautical miles (833 kilometers) off Somalia on Nov. 15. It is carrying more than 2 million barrels of crude valued at about $110 million. Very Large Crude Carriers cost about $148 million new.

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Mar 27


Blackwater, the notorious US security firm whose trigger-happy mercenaries were involved in civilian killings in Iraq and elsewhere, is expanding its lucrative business pitch into UN peacekeeping missions, hiding behind a mystique, off-shore affiliate called Greystone.

“In his most ambitious moments, [founder and owner Erik] Prince has set out a vision in which his companies would act as for-profit peacekeepers, working with the UN and other international organizations in conflict areas around the world,” the US magazine Mother Jones reveals in its March/April issue.

Prince, a former Navy SEAL, is repositioning his mercenaries as peacekeepers and relief forces.

(Book on the subject:  Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army

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