Pirates ahoy !

By Chris Lloyd

There’s been much talk of pirates this week after a Saudi-owned tanker was hijacked with Britons aboard. Chris Lloyd looks at the history and romance surrounding swashbucklers and buccaneers.

Ahoy, me hearties ! Shiver me timbers ! There be booty on the Indian Ocean. Arrrr, there be supertankers sailin’ ’boot laden to the gunnels with treasure – thick, black oozy treasure. Liquid gold, avast ye! I ain’t never – no, nay, ne’er – seen owt to match that Sirius Starrrr… 

Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky. The Sirius Star is one of the biggest ships on the seven seas: 332 metres (1,090ft) long, carrying two million barrels of crude oil – a quarter of Saudi Arabia’s daily output – worth £70m. 

And now she’s been captured by pirates.

These are Somalian pirates using motherships and global positioning satellites as opposed to swashbuckling pirates who sailed in galleons, glugged rum and said “arrrr” a lot.

Indian Ocean

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