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Tuesday, 14 March 2017 - 12:15
Somali pirates suspected to have hijacked Sri Lankan-flagged fuel freighter
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Somali pirates are suspected to have hijacked a Sri Lankan-flagged fuel freighter after the ship sent a distress call, turned off its tracking system and altered course for the Somali coast.

If confirmed, yesterday's incident would be the first hijacking of a commercial ship by Somali pirates since 2012.

The Dubai-owned Aris13 is believed to be carrying eight crew members.

Five years ago, Somali pirates terrorised sailors crossing the Gulf of Aden.

The International Maritime Bureau says they launched 237 attacks off the coast of Somalia in 2011, and held hundreds of hostages.

But attacks fell sharply after ship owners tightened security and avoided the Somali coast.

Interventions by regional naval forces that flooded into the area helped disrupt several hijack bids and secure the strategic trade route that leads through the ZeuZ Canal and links the oilfields of the Middle East with European ports.

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