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Angola oil pipeline attacked – by swordfish?

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Tired of being hooked for sport, made into steaks, and grilled with lemon, swordfish appear to be fighting back. And they're hitting humans where it hurts most – the pocketbook.

The migratory broadbills punctured part of an oil loading pipe at an offshore oilfield in the African nation of Angola – now the world's No. 7 oil exporter – causing a three-day delay in crude shipments, traders told Reuters on Tuesday.

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The "attack" forced French oil company Total to declare force majeure, which frees companies from supply obligations due to extraordinary circumstances.

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"It was caused because of swordfish. Now the swordfish have passed, so the force majeure has been lifted," one trader told Reuters.

Still, slight delays to cargo loadings scheduled in February and March are now likely.

Angolan authorities and oil companies operating in the country, however, would no doubt rather brave the odd attack by swordfish than face what their counterparts go through in Africa's other top oil producer, Nigeria, where rebels this week ended a truce in the oil-rich Niger Delta.

"All companies related to the oil industry in the Niger Delta should prepare for an all-out onslaught," said Jomo Gbomo, a spokesman for the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta.

The threat has "sparked fears of a return to violence that has cut output of the No. 3 crude oil supplier to the United States by more than 25 percent in recent years," reports the Monitor.

Yeah, swordfish starts to sound pretty good.