For the first time in five years, pirates hijacked a commercial ship off the coast of Somalia, Somali officials said Tuesday. The Aris 13, an oil tanker with eight crew members aboard, sent out a distress call Monday evening while in an area overseen by the U.S. Navy's 5th fleet.
Shortly after the ship's captain reported being approached by two skiffs, the ship changed course and headed toward the port town of Alula instead of the Somali capital of Mogadishu, its original planned destination out of Djibouti. More than two dozen men reportedly boarded the ship, though it was not immediately clear if the ship was hijacked by pirates or by local fishermen upset about illegal fishing off the Somali coast.
A barrage of pirate hijackings off the Somali coast in 2010 and 2011 prompted international intervention. Until this week, there had not been an attack on a major commercial vessel since 2012.