Somali pirates suspected of hijacking first ship since 2012

Somali pirates suspected of hijacking first ship since 2012

Somali pirates suspected of hijacking first ship since 2012

The vessel is believed to have been apprehended off Puntland and diverted towards the Somali coast.

Navy Spokesperson Lieutenant Commander Chaminda Walakuluge said the crew of eight reported to be on the vessel were not Sri Lankans.

Earlier reports said the vessel was Sri Lankan-flagged, but the foreign ministry in Colombo denied the claim.

According to Associated Press, a spokesperson for the European Union naval force operation off Somalia confirmed an incident had occurred.

The Aris 13 is owned by Panama company Armi Shipping, managed by Aurora Ship Management in the United Arab Emirates, according to Reuters.

According to a local elder, the ship is now anchored off the town of Alula, in the northeastern Bari province of Somalia.

A search for the Aris 13 was under way off the Somali coast on Tuesday.

An official based in the Middle East with knowledge of the incident told the AP that the vessel's captain reported to the company it had been approached by two skiffs and that one had armed personnel on board.

However, it has been several years since Somali pirates successfully hijacked a merchant ship. "It is a vital trading route into Europe and those ships and crew transiting it need to be protected, as it is the seafarers working in the region who are the ultimate victim of such activity".

But in recent years, thanks to an global effort to patrol near the country, hijacking incidents have become less common.

Nur told the AP that young fishermen including former pirates have hijacked the ship. "It has been taken against its will to another location", he said.

Masked and armed Somali pirate Hassan stands near a Taiwanese fishing vessel in 2012 washed ashore after the pirates were paid a ransom and the crew were released in the once-bustling pirate den of Hobyo, Somalia.

Pirates were attacking tens of ships each month and receiving multi-million-dollar ransoms. They do not normally kill hostages unless they come under attack, including during rescue attempts.

Recently, local fishermen, including former pirates, have grown angry about the continued presence of illegal foreign fishing boats in Somalia's waters.

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