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Somali pirates release hijacked ship and crew without ransom


Somali pirates who hijacked an oil tanker on Monday have released the ship and its eight Sri Lankan crew members.

The release followed a gunfight earlier in the day between the pirates and the marine force, and then intensive negotiations between the marine force, clan elders and the pirates.

An unnamed former British army officer said that the Puntland maritime police force freed the ship after making an offer the pirates couldn’t refuse.

The reported offer was not disclosed but a pirate confirmed the ship was released without a ransom being paid, after the gang found out that Somali businessmen had hired the tanker.

Aris 13 was hijacked on Monday enroute from Djibouti to Mogadishu, in the first successful attack of a commercial vessel off the Somali coast since 2012.

In their heyday in 2011, Somali pirates launched 237 attacks off the coast of Somalia, according to data from the International Maritime Bureau, and held hundreds of hostages. The attacks however fell sharply after crews put safety measures into place and regional naval forces stepped up patrols.

Some pirates returned to fishing, and others became involved in smuggling people and weapons across the Red Sea to Yemen.

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