9 February 2011 VOA News Armed pirates have seized a U.S.-bound oil tanker carrying about $200 million worth of crude off the coast of Oman.
Pirates captured the supertanker Irene SL Wednesday, as it was transporting some two million barrels of crude oil.
The European Union’s anti-piracy force says the Greek-flagged vessel has a crew of 25, including 17 Filipinos, seven Greeks and one Georgian. Officials say communication with the vessel has been cut off, and the status of the crew is unknown.
This is the second pirate attack on an oil tanker in as many days. On Tuesday,
Separately Wednesday, South Korea announced Somali pirates freed a South Korean fishing vessel and its 43 crew members.
The foreign ministry said the Keummi 305 is headed toward international waters after its release.
Pirates captured the ship off the Kenyan island of Lamu on October 9. Its crew includes 39 Kenyans, two Chinese, and two South Koreans.
It is unknown whether a ransom was involved in the South Korean vessel’s release.
Somali pirates have made hundreds of millions of dollars by hijacking ships for ransom in recent years. According to the EU’s anti-piracy task force, pirates are currently holding at least 30 ships and more than 700 hostages.