Somalia: Puntland maritime forces exchange fire with pirates aiming to release hijacked vessel


BOSASO, Puntland- The government of Somalia’s semi-autonomous region of Puntland is reported to be planning to rescue the hijacked Sri-Lankan flagged vessel MT Aris 13 and crew members from suspected local pirates in Alula district, Garowe Online reports.   

Puntland Maritime Police forces (PMPF) who deployed to Alula on Wednesday night were reported to engage in a gun battle with the pirates on board on Thursday morning.

Confirming the incident, Alula district commissioner Ali Shire Mohamud told local media that PMPF has laid a siege around the vessel and clashes erupted after PMPF forces fired at a small boat thought to be ferrying supplies to the pirates attempted to approach the vessel.

At least one Puntland naval soldier was wounded after they exchanged gunfire with the pirates, but no confirmed casualties from the pirates.

Yesterday, EU navy forces said the pirates have demanded undisclosed ransom from the owners of the vessel to release it from custody. 

However, the incident sent a shock wave to the global shipping industry, expressing concerns if piracy in the Horn of Africa will rise again since it declined drastically in the past 5 years. 

Earlier, the hijackers have claimed to be fishermen whose livelihood undermined from foreign fishing ships in Puntland waters amid growing frustration against Puntland government for granting fishing permits to foreign ships.