The oil tanker Aris 13 was reportedly hijacked, according to news reports. It’s the first commercial hijacking since 2012, and conflicting reports have the pirates being everything from disillusioned “fishermen” to the actual Somali pirates. No ransom demand has yet been received.
— MFA SL (@MFA_SriLanka) March 14, 2017
The ship sent out a distress call on Monday while it was transporting oil from Djibouti to Mogadishu, saying that two vessels were moving toward it with armed men. Then it “disappeared” as its tracking system was turned off. Officials believe it may be anchored in Puntland, a semi-autonomous area of Somalia.
EU NavFor confirmed the hijacking, and says their aircraft were tracking the path of the ship. An investigation is underway.
The vessel reportedly was owned by Panama company Armi Shipping and managed by Aurora Ship Management in the United Arab Emirates. The crew is said to be from Sri Lanka.
Since the last pirate attacks in 2012, the European Union Naval Force had dramatically reduced the number of hijackings.
One man who spoke to the news media, stated that former pirates and fishermen were the alleged hijackers of the oil tanker.
“They have been sailing through the ocean in search for a foreign ship to hijack since yesterday morning and found this ship and boarded it. Foreign fishermen destroyed their livelihoods and deprived them of proper fishing.” Salad Nur, an elder from Puntland, Somalia
— Michael Scott Moore (@MichaelSctMoore) March 14, 2017
BREAKING: A security source now says that a pirate group led by a man identified as Aw-Kombe are likely behind the hijacking of the tanker.
— Harun Maruf (@HarunMaruf) March 13, 2017
— Terror Events (@TerrorEvents) March 14, 2017
Is this a test for Donald Trump? Or will he leave it to the EU Naval Force? The area of the hijacking is under the auspices of the Navy’s 5th Fleet, based in Bahrain.