LONDON, ENGLAND - The hijacking of a large US-bound oil tanker marks a significant shift in piracy in the Indian Ocean and the crisis could "strangle" vital shipping lanes, tanker association INTERTANKO said on Wednesday.
Armed pirates seized the Irene SL tanker, carrying about US$200 million worth of crude off the coast of Oman on Wednesday, the second tanker hijacking by seaborne gangs in two days.
"The hijacking by pirates of 2 million barrels of Kuwaiti crude oil destined for the U.S. in a large Greek tanker in the middle of the main sea lanes coming from the Middle East Gulf marks a significant shift in the impact of the piracy crisis in the Indian Ocean," Joe Angelo, managing director of INTERTANKO, told Reuters.
"If piracy in the Indian Ocean is left unabated, it will strangle these crucial shipping lanes with the potential to severely disrupt oil flows to the U.S. and to the rest of the world," said Angelo, whose members own the majority of the world's tanker fleet. --REUTERS