On Monday, Somali pirates boarded the Aris 13, a Comoros-flagged oil tanker, and took the eight Sri Lankan crew members hostage. There have been some reports that a ransom was demanded, though it is not yet clear if this is true or what the ransom is. This is the first successful hijacking since 2012 – for more information on the peaks and troughs of Somali piracy, please see some of the links below.

From the Guardian

Pirates demand ransom for oil tanker captured off coast of Somalia

Armed 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.

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.

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From Voice of America

Seized Oil Tanker with 8 Crew Anchored Off Somalia Coast

“We have decided, as local fishermen, to resist illegal fishing. We have taken arms to defend ourselves, and we will continue,” said the man, who declined to give his name and did not suggest any dollar figures.

Asked about the crew, he said: “It’s not our principle to kill them. They are healthy. We looked after them. We are after the people who sent them, to make sure they never return.”

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From the BBC

Somalia ship hijack: ‘Pirates’ demand ransom

Ali Shire Mohamud Osman, the district commissioner in the town of Alula, near where the ship has been taken, told the BBC he was trying to find out if the gunmen really were fishermen or were organised pirates.

“The men who are holding it claim that they are fishermen who suffered from the illegal fishing in the area. However, if we confirm that they are pirates, I will ask them to leave the area immediately. Otherwise, we will see how we can save the vessel,” he said.

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