Somali pirates hijack Saudi tanker loaded with oil

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- It's the biggest ship taken so far by Somali pirates -- and the farthest one out to sea.

They took a Saudi supertanker loaded with crude, hundreds of miles from the coast of East Africa.

In doing so, they defeated a security web of warships that have been trying to protect the vital shipping lanes.

Maritime experts say the daylight attack shows how hard it is to patrol the vast stretch of ocean, which is a key shipping route for oil and other cargo.

The U.S. Navy says the tanker was seized over the weekend, more than 450 nautical miles southeast of Mombasa, Kenya.

The supertanker would seem to be a daunting target for the pirates, who usually operate in small speedboats. But experts say the crew may have felt a false sense of security so far from shore.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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