Puntland Pirates, ahoy
The EU Naval Force, which is currently operating off the coast of Somalia, has received positive confirmation from the master of the Comoros-flagged tanker, Aris 13, that his ship and crew are currently being held captive by a number of suspected armed pirates in an anchorage off the north coast of Puntland, close to Alula.
Reuters is reporting the Aris 13 has eight Sri Lankan crew on board. Somali authorities said the incident is the first time a commercial ship has been seized in the region since 2012 and they are going in to effect a rescue.
“We are determined to rescue the ship and its crew. Our forces have set off to Alula. It is our duty to rescue ships hijacked by pirates and we shall rescue it,” said Abdirahman Mohamud Hassan, director general of Puntland’s marine police forces.
Update: The Somali “pirates” were apparently fishermen who used to be pirates who seized the tanker as a warning to the government to get the lead out to help the fishermen keep their fish by running off those using their waters illegally. Apparently, it was kinda of a “you better do right by us, or we will pick up the Kalash and start doing this crap again” kind of statement. Anyway, they have released the oil tanker and crew, unmolested.