According to reports, pirates have seized control of an oil tanker off the coast of Somalia with eight crew members on board.
The tanker’s crew sent out a distress signal on Monday evening, indicating that the ship was being approached by high-speed boats. The status of the crew, composed of eight Sri Lankans, is currently unknown.
The ship was traveling en route to Mogadishu, capital of Somalia, from its last stop in Djibouti, but was diverted toward Alula, a port in the Puntland region of Northeastern Somalia. According to Abdirizak Mohamed Dirir, the chairman of Puntland’s anti-piracy operation, Puntland’s military had nothing to do with the seizure of the vessel, indicating instead that it had been taken by “Somali pirates.”
The ship, called the Aris 13, is a fairly small tanker tasked with delivering fuel, and although the ship itself is not from Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan government has publicly confirmed that eight of its citizens were on board.