Sirius Star anchored off Haradhere
The pirates had approached the tanker from the stern in speedboats and thrown grapnel hooks tied to rope ladders, most likely boarding unopposed as the ship cruised on auto-pilot with nobody keeping watch on the bridge.
Somalis on shore were stunned by the gigantic vessel — as long as an aircraft carrier at 1,080 feet — as it passed just off the coast. Two small boats floated out to the ship and 18 men — presumably other pirates — climbed aboard with ropes woven into a ladder.
Commander Jane Campbell, of the US Navy's 5th Fleet, told the BBC it had warned shipping companies that the US naval presence could "not be everywhere", adding: "For that reason we have strongly encouraged proactive self-protection measures for the companies."
"Our first and foremost priority is ensuring the safety of the crew," Salah B. Ka'aki, President & CEO of Vela International Marine Ltd. said. "We are in communication with their families and are working toward their safe and speedy return."