MOGADISHU, Somalia — Pirates have hijacked an oil tanker off the coast of Somalia, Somali officials and piracy experts said Tuesday, the first such seizure of a large commercial vessel on the crucial global trade route since 2012. The Aris 13 on Monday reported being approached by two skiffs, John Steed with the organization Oceans Beyond Piracy said. The ship was carrying fuel from Djibouti to Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, he said. Eight Sri Lankan crew members were aboard. An official in the semiautonomous state of Puntland said over two dozen men boarded the ship off Somalia’s northern coast, an area known to be used by weapons smugglers and members of the al-Qaida-linked extremist group al-Shabab. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press. The ship was anchored off the town of Alula, said Salad Nur, a local elder. “The ship is on the coast now and more armed men boarded the ship,” he told The Associated Press by phone. An official based in the Middle East with knowledge of the incident told the AP that no ransom demand had been made. “The vessel’s captain reported to the company they were approached… Read full this story
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