Somali, Saudi officials react to hijacking; tanker's owners meet

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) -- A Somali official is vowing to rescue a hijacked Saudi tanker "by using force if necessary."

A deputy sea port minister in northern Somalia says his forces will try to re-take the gigantic ship, which is now anchored within sight of impoverished Somali fishing villages. U.S. and other naval forces have decided against taking action for now.

Also today, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister says the hijacking is "an outrageous act" that "everybody" must address together.

The Saudi tanker was seized hundreds of nautical miles off the Kenyan coast over the weekend. Never before have Somali pirates seized such a big ship and so far out to sea. The Sirius Star -- about the size of an aircraft carrier -- was taken with a full load of 2 million barrels of oil, worth about $100 million. More than two dozen crew members are also aboard.

Meanwhile, owners of the supertanker are meeting today as they grapple with how to respond. With few options, ship owners in past piracy cases have ended up paying ransoms for their ships, cargoes and crew.

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


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