Somali pirates strike again, hijack oil tanker
17 March, 2017
Somali pirates, inactive for about five years, have successfully hijacked a commercial ship, the first such action since 2012, officials announced last Tuesday. The Sri Lankan-flagged oil tanker Aris 13 sent a distress call last Monday, turned off its tracking system and altered course for the Somali port town of Alula, John Steed of the aid group Oceans Beyond Piracy said. “The ship reported it was being followed by two skiffs yesterday afternoon. Then it disappeared,” Steed said.
Aircraft from EU anti-piracy naval force were flying overhead to track the ship's progress and to determine what was happening, he said. According to sources from the Navfor, hijackers are demanding a ransom, without giving any details about its size. The EU force made contact with the ship's master who said his vessel and crew were being held captive anchored off the coast of north-east Somalia.
In their heyday in 2011, Somali pirates launched 237 attacks off the coast hijacking dozens of ships. That year, the global cost of piracy was about $7bn, according to Oceans Beyond Piracy data.