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December 1, 2009

Somali pirates hijack VLCC headed for LOOP

Somali pirates have hijacked their largest victim ship yet--a 300,300 dwt tanker that was headed for the LOOP.

Yesterday, Maran Tankers Management Inc, operator and manager of the Greek flag Maran Centaurus, said the ship had been taken on Sunday, some 762 miles off the Coast of Somalia with 28 crew members on board, comprising nine Greek nationals, 16 Filipinos, a Romanian and two Ukrainians.

Maran Tanker Management said it received a call from the vessel at noon yesterday stating that all those on board are being well treated and the ship was heading for the area of Hobyo on Somalia's Puntland Coast.

Maran Tanker Management said its whole focus is "to ensure the safety, well being and early release of the seafarers on board the tanker, while keeping their families -and the crews manning agents- fully advised of the situation and any developments, understanding fully the great concern they must have at this time for their loved ones."

Maran Tankers Management said that it has a comprehensive range of security measures that are implemented by the crew of all its vessels when sailing in the Gulf of Aden or off the Somalia Coast, but noted that, "it is a fact, however, that a fully laden very large crude oil tanker has limited opportunity for evasive maneuvers and once pirates have boarded the vessel, the master has a paramount duty to ensure the safety of the crew."

Maran Tanker Management confirmed that there were no armed security personnel on board the vessel at the time of the attack, saying the company had taken the general industry view that the presence of security personnel on board can increase the risk of escalating the level of violence and further endanger the seafarers.

The company said it "is being supported by all the necessary professional advisors in dealing with this hijack" and that "it will not be providing any operational details that might endanger the lives of its crew, nor encourage further criminal attacks of this kind."


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