Somalia: pirates hijacked Sri Lankan-flagged ship

A Sri Lankan-flagged fuel freighter has been hijacked in Somali waters after the vessel sent a distress call.

The ship sent a distress call, turned off its tracking system and altered course for the Somali coast, a piracy expert told Reuters.

According to Reuters, the Dubai-owned Aris 13 is believed to be carrying eight crew members.

A spokesperson for the European Union Naval Force, which runs anti-piracy operations in the area, said it was too early to confirm pirate involvement.

If confirmed, the incident would be the first hijack of a commercial ship by Somali pirates since 2012, he said.

Attacks by Somali pirates have dropped significantly since 2012, following an international naval effort.

Piracy used to be a major problem in the Gulf of Aden as Somali pirates frequently attacked ships, seized their cargoes and kidnapped crew members, later demanding ransom for their release.

Somalia has lacked a functioning central government since 1991, when the dictator Siad Barre fell. The Horn of Africa nation is prey to al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda-linked Salafist group, and there are few jobs for youths.

About Geraldine Boechat 2731 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia