Colombo, Jan 29 (EFE).- Six Sri Lankan fishermen aboard a fishing vessel were rescued by Seychelles forces on Monday after being hijacked by Somali pirates.
“All six fishermen were saved and are safe. Three pirates were also arrested,” Sri Lankan naval spokesperson Captain Gayan Wickramasuriya told EFE.
The Sri Lankan fishermen and their vessel were hijacked by Somali pirates two days ago.
The island nation raised the alarm on Sunday after losing contact with the Lorenzo Putha-4 fishing vessel when it was north of Seychelles, off the eastern coast of Africa, after setting sail from Sri Lanka on Jan. 12.
The Sri Lankan government sought the help of the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a coalition of 39 countries, to protect the flow of trade and improve maritime security in different regions with its presence.
“We continued to track the fishing vessel and saw that they first turned to Somalia, and later diverted to Seychelles. We informed all countries around that area to help with the rescue operation,” Wickramasuriya said.
A Seychelles coast guard vessel identified the hijacked ship and conducted a successful rescue operation.
This incident comes on the heels of heightened tensions in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, with Iran-backed Houthi rebels launching attacks on commercial ships bound for Israel.
In response, the United States and the United Kingdom have conducted airstrikes on insurgent positions in Yemen.
The escalating tension in the region has prompted major shipping companies worldwide to adjust their routes, avoiding the sea route that handles 8 percent of the world’s grain trade, 12 percent of the oil trade, and 8 percent of the international trade in liquefied natural gas.
Somali pirates have also carried out attacks on ships in the Arabian Sea in recent months.
Sri Lanka witnessed a similar incident in 2017 when Somali pirates hijacked an oil tanker with eight Lankan crew members, who were released hours later after intense negotiations. EFE