IMO Head Urges Vigilance Following Bunker Tanker Hijacking Off Somalia

Thursday March 16, 2017

International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General Kitack Lim has issued a call for vigilance following the hijacking of the bunker tanker Aris 13 on Monday.

"While we have seen a very welcome decline in piracy off Somalia since the last reported hijack by Somali pirates in 2012, the reality is that piracy off the coast of Somalia has not been eradicated and the underlying conditions have not changed," said Lim.

"Merchant shipping should continue to take protective measures against possible piracy attacks in the Gulf of Aden and the western Indian Ocean through diligent application of IMO guidance and Best Management Practices."

Lim urged the Federal Government of Somalia, as well as its regional authorities in Puntland to take immediate action toward the safe release of the eight Sri Lankan seafarers.

John Steed, Regional Manager for the Horn of Africa at Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP), Thursday on social media said Somalia's maritime forces have exchanged gunfire with the hijackers of Aris 13.

Local media reports that five to six people have been reported as injured as a result of the exchange of gunfire.

As Ship & Bunker reported Tuesday, this is said to be the first time a commercial vessel has been successfully hijacked off Somalia's coast since 2012.