Pirates seize Greek oil tanker off Somalia

A Greek-flagged crude oil tanker hijacked by pirates off the coast of East Africa on Sunday was last night heading toward known pirate hideouts in northern Somalia, the European Union naval force Atalanta said in a statement. The Maran Centaurus, which reportedly has a capacity of over 300,000 tons, had been en route to the US port of New Orleans from the Saudi port of Jeddah when it was captured by pirates on Sunday. A spokesperson for Athens-based Maran Tankers Management, which owns the vessel, was quoted by news agencies as saying that the crew of 22, including nine Greeks, was in good health. The Maran Centaurus is one of several Greek-owned ships to have been attacked off Somalia this year. In September, pirates released the Greek-owned MV Irene, seized in April in the Gulf of Aden, after receiving some 1.3 million euros in ransom.

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