Pirates 'may increase UK fuel cost'

The Government has warned that Somali pirates are likely to force the price of petrol even higher by capturing key oil supplies.

Ministers said fuel supplies to the UK could be affected if pirates hijack an oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden and hold the vessel and the oil for ransom in Somalia.

Junior foreign office minister Henry Bellingham said: "The UK imports small quantities of oil from the Persian Gulf, so physical supplies are not directly affected by the problem of piracy off the Somali coast.

"However, the phenomenon is a concern because the undisrupted supply of Gulf oil to global markets helps ensure stable oil prices, including for UK consumers."

According to Mr Bellingham, the problem of piracy in the region could impact British tankers carrying gas.

He added: "The UK imports increasing volumes of liquefied natural gas from the Gulf, which uses the same maritime routes, and UK-flagged vessels and their crews are vulnerable to the threat of piracy."

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