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Piracy latest: Pirates demand $25m for Sirius Star

London: Somali pirates, who hijacked the Vela VLCC Sirius Star last weekend, have demanded $25 million in ransom yesterday and set a 10-day deadline amid mounting calls for tougher action on sea bandits. "We are demanding $25 million (20 million euros) from the Saudi owners of the tanker. We do not want long-term discussions to resolve the matter," a pirate who identified himself as Mohamed Said told Agence France-Presse news agency from the ship, anchored at the Somali pirate lair of Harardhere.

"The Saudis have 10 days to comply, otherwise we will take action that could be disastrous," Said added, without elaborating.

Eight vessels have been seized in the last two weeks alone -- including a massive Saudi supertanker loaded with $100 million worth of crude oil. Several hundred crew are now in the hands of Somali pirates.  [21/11/08]



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