Vessel name: ARIS 13
Flag State: Comoros
Route: Mogadishu / Bossaso / Djibouti
The Aris 13 sent a distress call on Monday afternoon (13th March), turned off its tracking system and altered course.
Conflicting reports suggest the vessel was guided to the Puntland region in the vicinity of Alula (map below) and other reports suggest she was guided to Ras Asayr (map below).
Two boats with 24 pirates were involved in the attack.
Aircraft from the regional naval force EU NAVFOR were flying overhead to track the ship’s progress and to try to determine what was happening. The tanker made a sharp about turn just after it passed the Horn of Africa on its voyage from Djibouti to Mogadishu. The ship was being monitored by the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Organisation (UKMTO), which coordinates the management of all merchant ships and yachts in the Gulf of Aden area.
The position of the vessel is extremely close to Somalia and suggests that it is a vessel conducting local trade. It is still unknown what cargo was on the vessel and what the ultimate intentions are of the attackers.
This incident highlights the complacency that now exists in that vessels are cutting through Socotra Island and close to the North Eastern Somalian coast line which is historically an area which sympathised with piracy operations.