3 December 2009 (Somalilandpress) – Somali marauders operating in the increasingly dangerous waters off East Africa seized a crude oil tanker making a delivery from Saudi Arabia to the United States
The Maran Centaurus was hijacked several hundreds miles off the coast of Somalia on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009. The ship originated in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, destined for an oil delivery in the United States.
The ship’s 28-member crew were taken captive by the Somali pirates, according to the US Defense Department.
The shipping company’s contracted intelligence firm — Lloyd’s List — noted in a statement that the Maran Centaurus is a “very large crude carrier, with a capacity of over 300,000 tons.”
Pirates have increased attacks on vessels off East Africa for the millions of dollars in ransom money. While pirates have successfully hijacked dozens of vessels over the last several years, this attack is believed to be only the second ever on an oil tanker.
Several security experts believe the pirates are helping to fund Al-Qaeda operations in that war-torn region. Meanwhile, on Friday, agents with Somalia’s customs bureau seized more than $1-million worth of fake US notes in Mogadishu’s Adan Adde International airport, authorities told local reporters on Saturday, Nov. 28.
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During a press conference held at the airport, Somalia’s Treasury Minister, Abdulrahman Omar Osman said the fake money was to be smuggled into Somaliland’s capital, Hargeisa, where it was to be used to carry out terrorism attacks.
Somalia’s police spokesman, Dhexe Abdullahi Hassan is quoted as saying that Al Qaeda was the prime suspect and decided to smuggle counterfeit notes after international financial institutions starved the terrorist group of all money supplies.
According to a report obtained by the National Association of Chiefs of Police’s Terrorism Committee, Somali authorities plan to destroy the contraband money.
By Jim Kouri