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Somali pirates fire shots on maritime forces
17 March 2017, 01:26 | Elizabeth Houston
Somali maritime forces and pirates on board a hijacked oil tanker with a Sri Lankan crew shot at each other today Sky News reported
Earlier, the hijackers have claimed to be fishermen whose livelihood undermined from foreign fishing ships in Puntland waters amid growing frustration against Puntland government for granting fishing permits to foreign ships. "Aris 13, that his ship and crew are now being held captive by a number of suspected armed pirates in an anchorage off the north coast of Puntland, close to Alula", the force said in a statement late on Tuesday.
But attacks fell sharply after crews put safety measures into place and regional naval forces stepped up patrols.
He says the release occurred after negotiations by local elders and local officials with the pirates, who seized the tanker on Monday.
Steed says the worldwide community had taken significant steps to improve security, boosting naval forces in the area and requiring ships to take protection measures.
Abdirahman Mohamud Hassan, the director general of the Puntland maritime police force, said: "There has been discussion going on after the gunfight this afternoon".
"Attacking the ship will not help, but instead it will endanger the lives of the crew", he said.
The gunmen are demanding a ransom to release the ship and its Sri Lankan crew, said the EU Naval Force.
Hawaii-bound flight diverted over blanket dispute Footage of the incident showed the man, wearing a hoodie and a baseball cap as he was escorted from the plane by two officers. Another passenger, George Enriques, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that the man told him: "They're not treating me right".
The European Union anti-piracy naval force made contact with the ship's captain on Wednesday and he confirmed the crew was being held hostage on board the ship, but no one had been killed.
Two people in the Somali town of Haabo were wounded as naval forces traded fire with men trying to ferry supplies to the tanker.
"Please release them. I appeal to you because these crew members include fathers, sons and husbands".
It remains early to comment on the situation and the captives of the ship, but pirates threatened that they will defend themselves from everyone who attempts to force them.
"These are fishermen who are infuriated with the illegal fishing off their coasts".
Illegal fishing has always been used by Somali pirates as an excuse for attacks and Steed has in the past warned that the presence of foreign vessels emptying Somali waters could reverse the gains against piracy.
However, some smaller fishing vessels have recently been seized in the area.
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