Saturday, January 30, 2010

A win for the pirates?

The Maran Centaurus

The Greek-owned oil tanker Maran Centaurus was ransomed for between $5.5 million and $7 million by East African pirates. It carried two million barrels of Saudi Arabian crude oil valued at more than $156 million. Theoretically they paid pennies on the dollar to get their cargo back. Reportedly $5.5 million in cash was dropped directly on to the deck of the hijacked ship.

The Centaurus was taken about 700 miles northeast of Seychelles, an island country north of Madagascar. The captors subsequently docked the tanker along the Somali coast in the pirate town of Xaradheere, located in central Somalia. The crew promised to share part of the ransom with the pirates of Xaradheere in exchange for docking the tanker, according to the Wall Street Journal. On board at all times were pirates with rocket propelled grenades and twenty-eight hostages.

Unfortunately for the pirates, it was not quite as easy money as it seemed. The pirates fell prey to the old saw, there is no honor among thieves. Despite their apparent generosity, the pirates allegedly gave the crew about $400,000 to divide among themselves because they had been cooperative, the buccaneers fought amongst themselves. The Journal reported that according to residents of the town, by nightfall at least three pirates lay dead in the street. None of the crew were harmed.

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