Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Supertanker Shadowed By Destroyer As Shipping World Watches

Korean Navy Catches up with Seized Vessel off Somalia
Shipping News Feature

SOMALIA – The “Samho Dream”, a 300,000 tonne VLCC captured 1500 kilometres off the Somali coast on Saturday was being shadowed today by a South Korean destroyer in a game of cat and mouse. The carrier holds an estimated one and a half billion barrels of crude oil en route from Iraq to the US and seems to be currently in a stalemate as the navy decide their next move.

The destroyer made all speed to catch the captive vessel but now faces the all too familiar ‘Mexican stand off’ with a volatile cargo and a crew of 24 at risk should action be precipitate. The navy vessel bristles with weaponry, including a search and destroy Lynx helicopter, but would appear to be impotent at this stage.

The kidnapped ship is registered in the Marshall Islands but owned and managed by a South Korean company, Samho Shipping of Busan, and the crew comprise both Korean nationals and Filipinos. The “Samho Dream” is reportedly on a heading into Somali coastal waters and no ransom demand has been reported to the media as yet. March to May is the “Pirate Season” when the weather in the Gulf of Aden is at its most suitable for attacks by the raiders.

Photo:- “Samho Dream” courtesy Samho Shipping.