Monday, January 18, 2010

Rival Somali pirates have shootout over oil tanker release

A shootout between rival Somali pirate gangs over their biggest ransom ever threatened to turn an oil supertanker and the 28 hostages aboard into a massive fireball until bandits begged the international anti-piracy force for help, a negotiator said Monday. A group of pirates showed up in two speedboats just before a $5.5 million ransom was to be dropped by parachute onto the Maran Centaurus, according to a Somali businessman responsible for the negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared reprisals.

The crude oil onboard, estimated to be worth some $150 million at the time it was hijacked, is so flammable that smoking is forbidden on deck. Two helicopters chased away the attackers seeking a cut of the ransom after the pirates onboard called frantically for help. "It's really remarkable: You have the criminals calling on the police to come and help them," said pirate expert Roger Middleton from London-based think tank Chatham House, who said it was the first time he could recall such a situation.



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I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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