Pirates off the coast of Somalia, who hijacked an oil tanker with eight Sri Lankan crew on board, are demanding a ransom for the release of the vessel, the EU Naval Force said.
Armed attackers seized the Aris 13 tanker on Monday as it made its way from Djibouti to Mogadishu, the first hijacking of a large merchant vessel by Somali pirates since 2012.
Yesterday, EU navy forces said the pirates have demanded undisclosed ransom from the owners of the vessel to release it from custody.
Officials said local elders negotiated the release of the Aris 13 and that as part of the negotiations, the pirates were allowed to leave the vessel and return to shore.
On Monday more than two dozen men boarded the Aris 13 off the coast of Somalia, an area used by weapons smugglers and members of an al-Qaida-linked extremist group.
A pirate confirmed the release was made without a ransom payment.
S.A. Nicholas, the captain of the oil tanker that was hijacked by the Somali pirates, told Daily Mirror on Thursday evening that their lives were at risk because of the presence of Somalian coast guard boats in the vicinity.
In their heyday five years ago, Somali pirates launched 237 attacks off the coast of Somalia in 2011, the International Maritime Bureau says, and held hundreds of hostages.
"Our forces were doing a normal routine patrolling around the area when they came under gunfire from these gunmen who were onboard a small skiff and they returned fire".
"Pirates on the ship fired on us and so the pirate boat escaped", the director general told Reuters news agency.
"The ship and crew will remain safe as long as no one attacks them", Hussein said by phone from an undisclosed location in northern Somalia.
The 1,800 deadweight tonne tanker is owned by Armi Shipping, a company registered in Panama, and managed by Aurora Ship Management in the United Arab Emirates, according to the French transport ministry's Equasis shipping data website. 'Foreign fishermen destroyed their livelihoods and deprived them of proper fishing'.
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.