Pirates demand ransom for tanker seized off Somalia

(EBC; March 15, 2017) - Pirates off the coast of Somalia, who hijacked an oil tanker with eight Sri Lankan crew on board, are demanding a ransom for the release of the vessel, the EU Naval Force said.

The pirates seized the Comoros-flagged Aris 13 tanker on Monday, the first such hijacking in the region since 2012, and took it to the port of Alula in the semi-autonomous northern region of Puntland.

"The EU Naval Force ... has received positive confirmation from the master of ... Aris 13, that his ship and crew are currently being held captive by a number of suspected armed pirates in an anchorage off the north coast of Puntland, close to Alula," the force said in a statement late on Tuesday.

EU Navfor said as soon as it received an alert on the ship's seizure, it sent patrol aircraft from its Djibouti base to try to make radio contact and late on Tuesday its headquarters in London managed to contact the vessel's master by phone.

"The master confirmed that armed men were on board his ship and they were demanding a ransom for the ship's release. The EU Naval Force has now passed the information regarding the incident to the ship's owners," EU Navfor said.

It gave no details on the size of the ransom.

Source: Reuters