The hijacking of a merchant fuel tanker by pirates off the Somali coast this week has sent shockwaves through parts of the shipping industry.

It is the first successful hijacking of a major commercial vessel in the Somali Basin since 2012 and is prompting debate over whether shipping companies have become complacent about the risk of maritime piracy.

The MT Aris 13 was travelling from Djibouti to Mogadishu on 13 March when, instead of giving the Somali coast a wide berth as advised, it took a short cut between the tip of the Horn of Africa and the Yemeni island of Socotra.

Somali pirates then ambushed the vessel just 11 miles (17km) from shore with two fast speedboats, known as skiffs, while aiming their weapons at the crew.

The vessel and its crew of eight Sri Lankan seafarers have now been seized by the pirates and are being held pending either ransom negotiations or a rescue attempt by the regional Puntland authorities. This brings to 16 the number of seafarers currently being held by Somalia-based pirates, the remaining eight being Iranians.

Read the full story here on BBC News…