Pirates demand ransom for oiltanker

Published : 8:23 am  March 16, 2017 | No comments so far |  |  (41) reads | 

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The master of the eight Sri Lankans crew on board Comoros-flagged tanker, Aris 13 which is currently being held captive by a number of suspected armed Somalian pirates confirmed that armed men were on board his ship and they were demanding a ransom for the ship’s release, the EU Naval Force said in a statement.  

 It said the EU Naval Force had passed the information regarding the incident to the ship’s owners in UAE. The 1,800 dead weight tonne Aris 13 is owned by Panama company Armi Shipping and managed by Aurora Ship Management in the United Arab Emirates, according to the Equasis shipping data.   


The EU Naval Force, which is currently operating off the coast of Somalia, has received positive confirmation from the master, that his ship and crew are currently being held captive by the armed pirates in an anchorage off the north coast of Puntland, close to Alula.  
The attack came shortly after the master issued a Mayday alert to say that two skiffs were closing in on his ship in the Gulf of Aden.   The EU Naval Force said that upon receipt of the Mayday alert, an EU Naval Force maritime patrol aircraft was launched from its base in Djibouti to overfly the tanker and make radio contact with the ship’s master.   

Despite hailing the ship several times, no contact was made and the situation on board remained unclear until late this afternoon, when the EU Naval Force operational HQ in London was able to make telephone contact with the ship’s master.  


The master confirmed that armed men were on board his ship and they were demanding a ransom for the ship’s release.   


All available EU Naval Force assets are continuing to monitor the situation, the EU Naval Force further stated.  


Meanwhile, the International News Agency Reuters reported quoting Director General of Puntland’s Marine Police Forces, Abdirahman Mohamud Hassan saying that security forces have been sent to free the Aris 13.  


“We are determined to rescue the ship and its crew. Our forces have set off to Alula. It is our duty to rescue ships hijacked by pirates and we shall rescue it,” he told Reuters.  


Sri Lanka Navy on Tuesday said the French Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) had informed the Rescue Coordinating Centre (RCC) in Sri Lanka of the incident on Monday. The UAE company confirmed that the eight Sri Lankans were part of the crew.  The pirates had chased the tanker, Aris 13, on two high speed boats before capturing it in between Djibouti and Somalia.    International news agencies reported that the incident would be the first successful hijack of a commercial ship by Somali pirates since 2012.