All eight crew members on board the Hijacked Aris 13 have been released late last night, according to the Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and EUNAVFOR.
Pirate networks have been significantly destroyed over the years through international efforts and countermeasures. Coupled with the lengthy ransom negotiations and falling ransom prices, the pirate networks finances took a hit.
Given these factors, the hijacking of the Aris 13 may not signal a return of the larger threat of piracy in the region, but it will be interesting to see whether there is an uptick in hijacking attempts in the short term given that the pirates were able to leave the ship without any arrest.
The EU Naval Force (Somalia) can confirm that fuel tanker Aris 13 and her crew are now en route to a safe port on the north coast of Somalia after armed pirates, who had been holding the crew since Monday 13 March 2017, departed the ship. The master confirmed that his crew had suffered no injuries during their 4-day ordeal.
It is understood that members of the Puntland Maritime Police Force assisted with the ship’s release and are currently on board.
(PRESS RELEASE) – The Ministry is pleased to announce that the vessel ‘Aris 13’ that was hijacked by pirates was released late last night/ early this morning (16-17 March Sri Lankan time) along with the eight Sri Lankan crew. The crew members were released unharmed, without the payment of a ransom.
The Ministry wishes to express its deep appreciation on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka, to the President of Puntland, the semi-autonomous region of Somalia, and his Chief of Staff Abdinasir Sofe, who cooperated and collaborated with the relevant officials of the Government of Sri Lanka in securing the release of the vessel and crew. This task would not have been made possible without their unstinted and active effort.
The Government of Sri Lanka also expresses its gratitude to the Government of the United States of America, the Ambassador of the United States of America in Sri Lanka, the Combined Naval Force in Bahrain, the EU, and all other Governments, Organisations and individuals who extended their assistance in this effort, as well as all local Ministries, Departments, and individuals.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka
17 March 2017