The hijacked product tanker Aris 13 was released by pirates without condition and ransom after gunshots with local naval forces. The vessel and its eight Sri Lankan crew were freed and vessel proceeded to the port of destination in Mogadishu. The releasing of the tanker happened several hours after naval troops from the semi-autonomous state of Puntland attacked the pirates and tried to stop a boat carrying reinforcement pirates to the ship. The pirates opened fire and the naval troop responded, which caused injury of four people. Following the gunbattle the pirates moved the vessel from its anchorage and tried to negotiate for its releasing.
“There has been discussion going on after the gunfight of this afternoon … We pulled our forces back and so the pirates went away”, said the director general of the maritime police force for Somalia’s semi-autonomous northern region of Puntland, Abdirahman Mohamud Hassan.
After several hours the vessel was released without paying a ransom. The pirates said that they had agreed to forego a ransom after learning that Somali businessmen had hired the Aris 13, which was taking oil from Djibouti to the Somali capital Mogadishu. Pirates have traditionally been wary of tangling with Somalia’s powerful businessmen.
“After we came to know that the Somali traders hired the oil tanker, we released it without a ransom”, said representative of the pirates, called Abdullahi.
The local authorities are investigating the root cause of the accident. It is not yet known is the pirates were professionals or just fishermen.
More about hijacking of tanker Aris 13:
Product tanker Aris 13 hijacked by Somali pirates in Gulf of Aden [14/03]
Master of hijacked tanker Aris 13 get in contact with EU Naval Force [16/03]