Pirates hijack oil tanker off Oman coast


A Somali coastguard patrols off the coast of Somalia's breakaway Republic of Somaliland.



A Greek-owned oil tanker carrying 135,000 tonnes of crude has been hijacked by pirates in the Arabian Sea.

Athens-based Dynacom Tankers said that the Liberian-flagged Smyrni was seized off the coast of Oman, and is reported to be heading for Somalia, according to the BBC. No communications have been received from the ship since it was boarded on Thursday.

OceanUSlive.Org, a social networking site for the maritime industry, said the attack was one of four to have taken place in the Arabian Sea in the past few days after a recent fall in the number of hijackings, Reuters reports.

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Pirates in Somalia often receive ransoms of tens of millions of dollars in return for hijacked ships. The EU's Operation Atalanta has deployed between five and 10 warships off the Somali coast since 2008 to escort humanitarian aid shipments and protect commercial vessels using vital shipping lanes from pirate raids, according to the Agence France Presse.

In March EU foreign ministers agreed to extend the mission until December 2014. 

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