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Wednesday, 15 March 2017 - 12:23
Wife of officer on board of hijacked vessel speaks to Hiru News
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It was confirmed that the oil tanker hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia had eight Sri Lankans including a Captain on board.

Crew on board of Aris 13, a small tanker delivering fuel, have made a distress signal on Monday stating that the vessel was approached by speeding boats.

Chief Officer of the vessel was K. T. Premanath Ruwan from Mathugama area. His wife told Hiru News that she is urging officials to free her husband and crew as soon as possible.

The European Union anti-piracy operation in the region announced that armed men are demanding a ransom for the release of an oil tanker they have seized off the coast of Somalia and the Sri lankan crew is being held captive.

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.

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

It came as a surprise to the global shipping industry as patrols by the navies of Nato countries, as well as China, India and Iran, had suppressed Somali pirate hijackings for several years.

However, the United Nations warned in October that the situation was fragile and that Somali pirates “possess the intent and capability to resume attacks”.

Meanwhile, relatives of the Sri Lankan crew members of the hijacked vessel complained to the Foreign Ministry this morning requesting the government to rescue the victims.

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