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Mutiny on the oil tanker

The seas off Somalia and the Gulf of Aden have become the most dangerous in the world, seeing 61 incidents from January to March 2009. 80% of the world's goods move over the seas. One fifth of that passes through the Gulf of Aden, and is at risk every day from pirates. So if your mum's birthday present doesn't turn up on time or your petrol costs more than usual, pirates may be to blame!

In November 2008, pirates hijacked the Saudi supertanker Sirius Star. The tanker contained 2 million barrels of oil valued at about $100 million. The tanker was released in January 2009 for a reported $3 million ransom after a two-month drama.

Lloyds of London say 'Insurance costs are rising in reaction to the changing risk profile, but premiums are set on a case by case basis taking into account the specific risks. A shipowner using riskier waters should expect to pay a higher rate, in the knowledge that underwriters are monitoring the situation very closely.'

Reach over to the National Maritime Museum to find out how the pirates of yesteryear have caused terror on the high seas since ancient times.

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