19 Nov 2008

Seized tanker now at anchor

8:52 am on 19 November 2008

A huge Saudi oil tanker hijacked in the Indian Ocean on Saturday is now reported to be anchored off the coast of Somalia.

Vela International said that all 25 crew were said to be safe.

The Sirius Star was seized on Saturday 830km off the Kenyan coast in what the US Navy called an "unprecedented" attack.

It is the biggest tanker ever hijacked, with a cargo of 2 million barrels, worth more than $US100 million.

The International Maritime Bureau says Somali pirates have attacked 90 ships to date this year - more than double the number in 2007. Pirates are still holding 16 ships and more than 250 sailors.

AFP news agency reports the tanker is anchored off the port of Harardhere in the northern breakaway Somali region of Puntland.

Saudi Arabia has condemned the hijacking as "an outrageous act".

Foreign minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal said the international community needed to fight piracy, which he compared to terrorism.

However, the prince gave no indication of what action, if any, Saudi Arabia intends to take over the hijacking.