Pirates Hijack Oil Tanker Off Coast of Somalia

An oil tanker has been hijacked by suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia, reports say, the first such hijacking in the region in five years.

The ship sent a distress signal on Monday evening, saying it was being approached by high-speed boats.

The gunmen have told a local official they are fishermen whose equipment was destroyed by illegal fishing vessels.

Piracy was rampant off the Somali coast until increased patrols by European naval forces contained the problem.

The vessel was en route from Djibouti to the Somali capital, Mogadishu, and was then diverted towards the port of Alula in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland.

Its tracking system has reportedly been switched off.

The Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry has confirmed that eight of its nationals were on board.

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SOURCE: BBC News