Hijackers of the oil tanker Aris 13 are demanding a ransom for the release of the vessel, which was seized off the coast of Somalia and taken to the port town of Alula.
Eight Sri Lankan crew members held captive by the pirates have contacted the EU Naval Force in the region, which stated late Tuesday (March 14, 2017) that the ship's master had confirmed that armed men were aboard the vessel.
Abdirahman Mohamud Hassan, Director General of Puntland’s marine police forces, told Reuters: “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.”
This incident marks the first time since 2012 that a commercial ship has been successfully taken through piracy.
The 1,800 deadweight ton Aris 13 is owned by Panama company Armi Shipping and managed by Aurora Ship Management in the United Arab Emirates.
The ICC International Maritime Bureau's (IMB) annual piracy report revealed at the start of 2017 that more crew were kidnapped at sea in 2016 than in any of the previous 10 years, despite global piracy reaching its lowest levels since 1998.