The Master of the hijacked bunker tanker Aris 13 succeeded to get in contact with EU Naval Force, which is currently operating in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia. The Master of the ship confirmed that his ship and crew were held in captivity by group of armed men at the anchorage off the north coast of Puntland. The pirates drained the tanks of the tanker and stole all the fuel on board, but also demanded for ransom to release the vessel. However, all the crew on board are safe and alive, without reported injuries. The EU Naval Force passed all the information regarding the incident to the ship’s owners.
The attack against the UAE product tanker Aris 13 happened shortly after the Master issued a mayday alert for two motor skiffs approaching the vessel from the stern. EU Naval Force sent a maritime patrol aircraft from Djibouti to overfly the tanker, trying to make radio contact. Unfortunately the vessel did not responded to the calls of the airplane and there was no contact until yesterday afternoon.
EU Naval Force revealed that the piracy attack occurred shortly after the bunker tanker Aris 13 was preparing to cut through the Socotra Gap between the tip of Somalia and the island of Socotra. The route is dangerous with threat of piracy, but frequently used as a cost- and time-saving measure for vessels traveling down the east coast of Africa. The low freeboard and slow speed made the tanker easy target for the pirates, who succeeded to board her and took control.
More about hijacking of Aris 13:
Product tanker Aris 13 hijacked by Somali pirates in Gulf of Aden [14/03]
Hijacked product tanker Aris 13 was released by pirates without ransom [17/03]