The hijacking of the Saudi Aramco-owned vessel on Sunday, Nov 16 is certain to add to pressure for concerted international action to tackle the growing threat posed by pirates from anarchic Somalia to one of the world's busiest shipping routes.
The Sirius Star held as much as two million barrels of oil -- more than one quarter of Saudi Arabia's daily exports. The hijacking helped lift global oil prices over $1 to more than $58 a barrel, although they later lost some gains.
The hijacking, 450 nautical miles (830 km) southeast of Mombasa, Kenya, was in an area far beyond the Gulf of Aden, where most of the attacks on shipping have taken place and where foreign navies have begun patrols.
The Sirius Star had been heading for the United States via the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa, skirting the continent instead of heading through the Gulf of Aden and then the Suez Canal.
The ship, at 318,000 deadweight tons, was the largest ever captured by pirates.
The Sirius Star is Liberian-flagged, and owned and operated by state oil giant Saudi Aramco's shipping unit Vela International. The vessel was launched in March.