On Monday, more than two dozen men boarded the Aris 13 oil tanker. It was the first hijacking of a commercial ship in five years. The men were reportedly demanding a ransom but it has now been revealed that they have left the ship.
An official confirmed that the ship had been released without conditions. The official revealed that the release of the ship happened after negotiations between local elders and officials with the pirates. The men were reportedly demanding a ransom after getting on the ship but the amount had not been decided at the time.
Authorities clashed with the pirates on the ship earlier today and the release was confirmed on Thursday night. The ship was carrying fuel to Mogadishu when it was approached by two small boats off the coast of Somalia.
Communication lines were reportedly cut off after the ship was hijacked but officials later contacted the captain. The crew of eight Sri Lankan sailors was taken to a room on the ship. The Somali pirates were holding the crew captive and demanding a ransom.
Puntland’s Anti-Piracy Agency Director Abdirizak Mohamed Ahmed said that the men told authorities that the ship was taken only as a protest of the illegal fishing in local waters and not for ransom. An official with knowledge of the situation said that no ransom demand had been made.
The hijacking of the commercial ship was the first since 2012. Piracy was a big threat in the area before 2012 but security was increased to stop it. There were reports of a few incidents after 2012 but illegal fishing is said to be the main reason as to why piracy has returned.
The Somali pirates released the ship hours after the gun battle with police and authorities have now boarded it to help it return to the port safely.