An oil tanker carrying crude worth around £125m has been hijacked off Oman.
The ship, the Irene, is owned by a Greek shipping company and was on its way from the Arabian Gulf to the Gulf of Mexico.
Reports suggest the ship came under siege from armed men and so far there has been no communication from the vessel to its owners. More than half of the crew are Filipino.
Hijackings by pirates from Somalia have increased dramatically in the last five years, and although today’s incident happened hundreds of miles from the Somali coast, those same gangs may be behind the attack on the Irene.
Somali pirates are currently said to be holding almost 30 ships and over 600 hostages.
The rise in hijackings has seen oil and shipping companies face increased insurance hikes and also have to take out kidnap and ransom cover.
There has also been prolonged debate among shipping companies, unions and trade bodies over putting private security guards – sometimes armed – on merchant vessels.