Pirates are not just in the movies these days –– a group of Somali pirates recently hijacked a large Saudi oil taker, fueled up and passing off the coast of Kenya on its way to the US. The $120-million ship contained up to 2 million barrels of oil worth more than $100 million, according to the LA Times. It might the largest ship ever hijacked by bandits; this event presents some environmental questions and safety concerns.
Piracy in the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden has become a scourge, threatening shipping lanes and driving up insurance costs. The pirates often stage their heists from Somalia, a lawless country with a weak central government that is grappling with a violent Islamist insurgency. Using speedboats that swarm the targets, the machine-gun-toting pirates take control of merchant ships and then hold the vessels, crew and cargo for ransom.
We can imagine the bandits are not thinking about the planet, when they attack ships. What would happen if they used their guns and the ship caught fire? What do the pirates plan on doing with the oil? It’s not likely that they know how to handle it responsibly. Captains of oil tankers, out of fear, will now need to steer tankers thousands of miles off course, upping the cost of fuel used in transport and also the quantity of greenhouse gas emissions. Insurance costs will also soar.
A CNN rep, Nina, says a new pirate detection device is about to hit the Seven Seas: “I saw Karin’s post about pirates hijacking the Saudi oil tanker and thought you might be interested in a video that CNN just released showing exclusive footage of the pirates and describing a new (and non-lethal) anti-piracy device.
“At least this device won’t spark any fires or environmental hazards.”
Embedded video from CNN Video