Published: Fri, March 17, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Somali regional police threaten to use force to free hijacked tanker

Somali regional police threaten to use force to free hijacked tanker

MOGADISHU, SOMALIA-Somali pirates who seized a Comoros-flagged oil tanker earlier this week after five years without a major hijacking in the region have released the ship and its crew without conditions, officials said late Thursday. The pirates drained the tanks of the tanker and stole all the fuel on board, but also demanded for ransom to release the vessel.

Meanwhile, a bid to recapture the oil tanker held by pirates off the coast of Somalia has failed after hijackers opened fire on maritime forces.

It came after a gunfight between naval forces from the semi-autonomous state of Puntland and the gang, followed by negotiations involving local elders. 'The ship changed course quite soon after that report and is now anchored'. But he said it is normal for pirates to send threats once they feel pressured.

However, John Steed, a former British army officer who has spent years negotiating the release of piracy hostages in Somalia, told the AFP news agency they had been made an offer they could not refuse.

He said the Puntland naval forces were dispatched to the area not to free the ship by force but to cut off any supplies to the pirates.

"They (the pirates) asked us to pressure our government (the SL govt.) to tell the Somali authorities to cease firing at the pirates immediately", he said.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger reveals aims for the rest of the season
Meanwhile right-back Bellerin has again been linked with a move to Barcelona having enjoyed a good season in north London. And he insists the under-fire Frenchman is doing exactly the same to Arsenal after yet another season of disappointment.

"The ship and crew will remain safe as long as no one attacks them", Hussein said by phone from an undisclosed location in northern Somalia. "They desperately need to show their grievances by seizing the boat", said Abdiwahab Ahmed, an elder in Alula.

Illegal fishing has always been used by Somali pirates as an excuse for attacks and Steed has in the past warned that the presence of foreign vessels emptying Somali waters could reverse the gains against piracy.

The gunmen have told a local official that they are fishermen whose equipment was destroyed by illegal fishing vessels.

The 1,800 deadweight ton Aris 13 is owned by Panama company Armi Shipping and managed by Aurora Ship Management in the United Arab Emirates, according to the Equasis shipping data website, managed by the French transport ministry. At the peak of the piracy epidemic in January 2011, 736 hostages and 32 boats were held.

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

Like this: