Thursday, May 6, 2010

Somalis hijack Russian tanker, warship dispatched

"Any attempt to rescue the ship will certainly endanger the crew. The ship will be docked at Garacad," Abdi told Reuters by telephone, adding it was too early to talk about a ransom.

A Russian Warship has been sent to deal with this in a passive manner ?

(Reuters) - Somali pirates hijacked a Russian tanker carrying $52 million worth of crude oil and 23 crew on Wednesday, prompting Russia to send a warship to try to deal with the incident, officials said.

Pirates who hijacked the China-bound, Russian-owned MV Moscow University tanker 350 miles off the coast of Yemen warned against any rescue attempt, saying this would endanger the Russian crew.

"A Russian warship is moving toward the tanker," Russian defense ministry spokesman Alexei Kuznetsov said. The Chief of the Russian General Staff cut short a visit to NATO headquarters in Brussels to coordinate the military's response, he added.

The vessel had been traveling under a Liberian flag from Sudan to the Chinese port of Nigbo with 86,000 tonnes of oil owned by Chinese refiner Unipec, a Russian shipping source said. Maritime experts said the tanker had a deadweight of 106,474 tonnes.

"The crew members locked themselves in the radar room. This ship has been hijacked," Commander Rear Admiral Jan Thornqvist of the European Union's Navfor naval force told reporters in the Kenyan port of Mombasa.

One pirate who identified himself as Abdi said the tanker was heading to a pirate haven on the coast of central Somalia.

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