Somali Force, Pirates Exchange Gunfire

Aris 13

Pirates were reported saying that they had agreed to forego a ransom after learning that a Somali businessmen had hired the ship which was taking oil from Djibouti to the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

In their heyday in 2011, Somali pirates launched 237 attacks off the coast of Somalia, according to data from the International Maritime Bureau, and held hundreds of hostages.

"The release was made hours after the pirates and the European Union Naval Force exchanged gunfire, which was followed by extensive negotiations".

FILE - A photo of the 26 sailors who were released Saturday by Somali pirates.

The Somali pirates were holding the crew captive and demanding a ransom.




Lt Commander CRP Walakuluge said that Aris 13 was vulnerable to piracy because it was sailing close to the coast to save on fuel and was also going slowly.

Since the Horn of Africa is part of a major maritime route, there was never a shortage of targets, and piracy bloomed until 2012 when the combined efforts of worldwide navy fleets and the shipping companies, which strengthened the defense of their vessels by employing armed guards, seriously dampened hijacking activities. Nur, the local elder, said that young fishermen including former pirates have hijacked the ship. They don't normally kill hostages unless they come under attack.

The pirates told authorities that the only reason they seized the ship was in protest of the illegal fishing in the area that has threatened livelihoods, not for ransom, Mohamed said. 'Foreign fishermen destroyed their livelihoods and deprived them of proper fishing'.

The Sri Lanka-flagged ship is owned by Armi Shipping SA and is operated by Aurora Ship Management, both companies based in the United Arab Emirates.

Though anti-piracy measures ended attacks on commercial vessels, fishing boats have continued to face attacks.

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