Owner of hijacked Saudi tanker says crew safe

The owner of a Saudi oil supertanker hijacked by Somali pirates over the weekend said the 25 crew members are safe and the ship is fully loaded with crude oil - a cargo worth about $100 million at current prices. Dubai-based Vela International Marine Ltd., a subsidiary of Saudi oil company Aramco, said in a statement Monday that company response teams have been set up and are working to ensure the release of the crew and the vessel. The US Navy said the MV Sirius Star was seized far off the coast of Kenya on Saturday and that the bandits were taking the ship to a Somali port known as a hub of pirate activity. However, the statement posted on Vela's Web site late Monday said the ship was hijacked Sunday. The discrepancy could not immediately be explained.