About five years ago, pirates seized the Dewi Madrim, a chemical tanker passing through the Strait of Malacca between Indonesia and Malaysia, but stayed on board only briefly after seizing the technical manuals. Security specialists are concerned that pirates might someday seize a tanker carrying pressurized liquefied natural gas, or LNG, then blow it up or sell it to terrorists.
“If it was an LNG tanker seized, we’re looking at something potentially catastrophic,” said Candyce Kelshall, a specialist in maritime energy security at Blue Water Defence, a Trinidad-based firm that provides training to governments and companies combating piracy. “An LNG tanker going up is like 50 Hiroshimas.”
Now, presumably the pirates engaging in this sort of high-seas misadventure don’t have much of a taste for martyrdom, but there might be a few folks who are. That said, I’m not entirely sure of the plausibility of a hijacked tanker attack. It would seem to me that the less-than-breakneck speed of massive tankers coupled with the lack of a real hostage situation would make striking population centers a bit difficult. Insofar as the threat of an LNG attack on whales could extort vast sums of money from Hayden Panettiere though, it seems like a good idea.