Editors Note: The following statement was made by INTERTANKO’s Managing Director, Joe Angelo in response to the hijacking of the VLCC Irene SL, with nearly 2 millions barrels of crude oil destined fort he U.S.,
The hijacking by pirates of 2 million barrels of Kuwaiti crude oil destined for the U.S. in a large Greek tanker in the middle of the main sea lanes coming from the Middle East Gulf marks a significant shift in the impact of the piracy crisis in the Indian Ocean.
The Irene SL’s cargo of Kuwaiti crude oil represents nearly 20% (one fifth) of total U.S. daily crude oil imports. This one cargo is 12% of all oil coming out of the Middle East Gulf each day, and 5% of total daily world seaborne oil supply.
The piracy situation is now spinning out of control into the entire Indian Ocean right to the top of the Arabian Sea over 1,000 miles from the coast of Somalia. This rapid expansion has been accomplished through the pirates’ use of motherships.
If piracy in the Indian Ocean is left unabated, it will strangle these crucial shipping lanes with the potential to severely disrupt oil flows to the U.S. and to the rest of the world.
We need to see a significant increase in government ‘will’ to eradicate piracy in the Indian Ocean and not just contain it.