Pirates raid oil tanker at Basra

Pirates armed with AK-47 assault rifles attacked the crew of a supertanker waiting to load crude at Iraq's Basra oil terminal before making off with cash, an ocean crime watchdog says.

    Security has been increased at oil terminals in Basra after attacks

    The raid happened at night on 31 May about 10 nautical miles from Iraq's deep-water oil terminal where most of its crude oil is exported.

    "They tried to enter the bridge claiming to be policemen. The master denied them entry and the pirates became violent ... they assaulted the master causing him injuries and demanded money," the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said in a report on Wednesday.

    Mayday signal

    The Nord Millennium was capable of carrying 300,000 tonnes of crude when fully loaded.

    A warship belonging to the US-led forces arrived to assist following a mayday signal.

    Jayant Abhyankar, deputy director of the IMB, told reporters the incident raised questions about security at the oil terminal, Iraq's main outlet for oil exports that provide nearly all of its income.

    Lieutenant Commander Charlie Brown of the US Navy's Fifth Fleet said the navy was only directly responsible for security at the oil terminals themselves.

    Partial responsibility

    "They tried to enter the bridge claiming to be policemen. The master denied them entry and the pirates became violent"

    International Maritime Bureau report

    "We do conduct maritime security operations in the Gulf, we are patrolling the area and we do want to set those conditions for security and stability.

    "But those ships that are transiting to and from, that are not at the terminals, need to provide some of their own security
    as well," he said.

    Brown also said standard practices like watches and guards on anchor chains would suffice.

    Security was stepped up last year at the southern Basra oil terminal after al-Qaida's al-Zarqawi group carried out boat attacks at the terminal.

    In late April, security was also tightened at the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr after an armed group raided a vessel carrying Australian wheat. The ship was at anchor some distance from the port when the incident occurred.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.