Somali pirates release hijacked ship: Somali marine force, pirates

19 March, 2017, 01:17 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • Somali maritime forces and pirates on board a hijacked oil tanker with a Sri Lankan crew shot at each other today¬†Sky News reported

Security official Ahmed Mohamed said the pirates have left the ship, which is now heading to Bossaso port, the region's commercial hub.

The release was made hours after the pirates and the European Union (EU) Naval Force exchanged gunfire, which was followed by extensive negotiations, reported Reuters. "We took our forces back and thus the pirates went away", said Abdirahman Mohamud Hassan, the director general of the Puntland maritime police force.

The hijacking Monday was the first such seizure of a large commercial vessel off Somalia since 2012.

Sri Lanka's Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha de Silva said the European Union, the U.S. had helped co-ordinate the release.

He said the vessel was not following the "best practices" put in place to avoid piracy, since it was taking a cost- and time-saving route too close to Somalia's coastline, was travelling too slowly and was without an armed escort. Officials in Puntland sent local forces to assist in rescue efforts of the hostages on board the vessel.

Oil tanker pirated of the Somali coast.

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Steed says there is nothing unusual about the move.

This is the first case of piracy off the Somalia coast since 2012. Hijacking attacks resulted in hundreds of hostages being held for ransom.

A pirate has confirmed the release was made without a ransom payment.

According to John Steed, regional manager of the watchdog group Oceans Without Piracy, the pirates were given an offer they could not refuse - live or die.

A United Nations report seen by the AP in November said Somali pirates retain the capacity and intent to resume the attacks and lately have shifted to targeting smaller foreign fishing boats.

They have blamed Yemeni, Chinese, Indian, Iranian and Djibouti-flagged fishing boats and trawlers, and some have threatened to return to a life of piracy to make money.

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