The crisis was so severe that a naval task force with more than two dozen vessels from European Union countries, the United States, China, Russia, India and Japan banded together to restore order to one of the world's busiest shipping routes. They largely succeeded. In 2015, there were 17 pirate attacks near Somalia, down from 151 in 2011. Many of those attacks were on smaller fishing boats from nearby countries, mostly by disgruntled Somali fishermen, but not commercial ships.
Somali officials acknowledged that the Aris 13, an oil tanker, had been escorted to the Somali coast by at least eight, and perhaps as many as dozens of armed men on two small skiffs. Reports from organizations that monitor piracy could not conclusively identify which flag the ship was flying nor where it was owned, but Sri Lanka's foreign ministry confirmed that eight of its nationals were on board as crew. The ship was on its way south to Mogadishu, Somalia's capital.
The attack originated in the Puntland region, which is semi-autonomous. "The vessel's captain reported to the company they were approached by two skiffs and that one of them could see armed personnel on board," an unidentified Middle East-based official told The Associated Press. "The ship changed course quite soon after that report and is now anchored."
Salad Nur, described as a "local elder" by The Associated Press, said that the men involved with Tuesday's hijacking had been searching for a commercial vessel for days on the open water. "Foreign fishermen destroyed their livelihoods and deprived them of proper fishing," said Nur.
Piracy is also on the rise on the other side of Africa. Armed groups based along Nigeria's coast have made that region the most dangerous for seafarers. That coast is also a major oil shipping route. Now that oil prices have dropped, pirates there have taken to kidnapping crew members for ransom rather than siphoning off oil, as it has proved more lucrative.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)