The Somalia-based pirates who hijacked oil tanker Aris 13 on Monday March 13th, with eight Sri Lankan crew on board, are demanding a ransom for the release of the vessel, according to the EU Naval Force (NavFor). The 1,800dwt tanker is now in the port of Alula in the semi-autonomous northern region of Puntland.
EU NavFor said that, 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. Late on Tuesday March 14th 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.” EU NavFor said, adding that it had passed the relevant information to the ship’s owners, Panama-based Armi Shipping, but giving no details on the amount of money demanded. Aris 13 is managed by Aurora Ship Management in the United Arab Emirates.
Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP) said late Tuesday that the ship was carrying gas and fuel and was not registered with the Maritime Security Centre for the Horn of Africa, which registers and tracks vessels in the region. It added that Aris 13 was preparing to go through a route known as the Socotra Gap, between Somalia and Socotra Island. This is a route vessels often use, regardless of the piracy risks, to save time and cost, OBP said, adding that the attack “reinforces the need for vessels to follow shipping industry Best Management Practices within the BMP-specified High Risk Area”.