BOSASSO, Somalia, March 16 Maritime police in
Somalia's semi-autonomous region of Puntland said on Thursday
they would attack hijackers holding an oil tanker to free the
vessel if efforts by local elders to get them to surrender did
Gunmen hijacked the small oil tanker Aris 13 on Monday and
are demanding a ransom to release the ship and its eight Sri
Lankan crew, said the EU Naval Force that patrols the waters off
Somalia. It is the first ship to be seized since 2012.
Abdirahman Mohamud Hassan, director general of Puntland's
maritime police, said they had surrounded the ship, which is
docked near the port town of Alula, but had been asked by local
elders to give them a chance to convince the hijackers to free
"If they do not get off, we shall fight to rescue the ship,"
Hassan told Reuters.
The 1,800 deadweight tonne Aris 13 is owned by Panama
company Armi Shipping and managed by Aurora Ship Management in
the United Arab Emirates, according to the Equasis shipping data
website managed by the French transport ministry.
In 2011, Somali pirates launched 237 attacks off Somalia's
coast, data from the International Maritime Bureau showed, and
took hundreds hostage.
That year aid group Oceans Beyond Piracy estimated the
global cost of piracy at about $7 billion. The shipping industry
bore roughly 80 percent of those costs, it said.
Attacks fell off sharply, however, after ship owners
tightened security and vessels stayed farther away from the
(Reporting by Abdiqani Hassan; Writing by Duncan Miriri;
Editing by Hugh Lawson)