Somalia's pirates demand ransom for seized oil tanker

Somalia's pirates demand ransom for seized oil tankerArmed men are demanding a ransom for the release of an oil tanker they have seized off the coast of Somalia and the crew is being held captive, the European Union anti-piracy operation in the region announced late on Tuesday.

This is reported by The Guardian.

An EU naval force statement said the operation had finally made contact with the ship’s master, who confirmed that armed men were onboard the Comoros-flagged tanker Aris 13.

Read also: Pirates hijack oil tanker off Somalia's coast

A Somali pirate who said he was in touch with the armed men onboard the tanker said the amount of ransom to demand had not yet been decided.

The Aris 13, manned by eight Sri Lankan sailors, was carrying fuel from Djibouti to Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, when it was approached by men in two skiffs, said John Steed of Oceans Beyond Piracy. The EU statement says the ship’s master issued a mayday alert.

An official in Somalia’s semiautonomous state of Puntland said over two dozen men boarded the ship off the country’s northern coast, an area known to be used by weapons smugglers and members of the al-Qaida-linked extremist group al-Shabaab. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to journalists.

The ship was anchored on Tuesday off the town of Alula, said Salad Nur, a local elder. “The ship is on the coast now and more armed men boarded the ship,” he told the AP.

Somali pirates usually hijack ships and crew for ransom. They don’t normally kill hostages unless they come under attack.
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