Police in Papua New Guinea fought
off an attack by armed pirates who tried to hijack a Shell oil tanker
as it was berthing at an island off the mainland. Shell Papua New Guinea operational
manager George Talbot said
the attack on the Petro Navigator charter
vessel carrying 2,600 tons of fuel was of great concern.
"Potentially it was a very dangerous situation -- firearms and oil tankers
don't go well together," Talbot said. The company has suspended local fuel shipments until the attackers are caught. Talbot said four armed men boarded the vessel on Monday night as it was berthing on the island of Manus
, 800 km (500 miles) north of Port Moresby. Police called to the ship struggled with the men and fired warning shots.
"They managed to get at least one firearm off police before they jumped over the side and stole a small dinghy," Talbot said.
Talbot said Shell PNG had suspended operations to Manus island
off the north coast of the mainland until the men were arrested and security beefed up. "We won't deliver fuel until security arrangements in the port are improved, to ensure it doesn't happen again," he said. "This is a pretty violent country anyway and if it (hijacking) was to start on a regular basis there would be serious implications for the industry," he said.