President raises concerns over safety of Lankans on ship

President Maithripala Sirisena has raised concerns over the safety of the Sri Lankan crew on the ship hijacked by Somali pirates.

The President said he had instructed the Navy Commander to communicate Sri Lanka’s concerns about the safety of the Sri Lankans on board the captured ship.

He also said that the Combined Maritime Force in Bahrain is in contact with the Somali Maritime Police on Sri Lanka’s behalf.

“May Noble Triple Gems protect the victims,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Xinhua news agency said that one person has died and four others were injured on Thursday when Puntland forces engaged in a gun fight with the pirates who hijacked the ship in the Bari region of northern Somalia.

Ali Shire Mohamud, commissioner of Alula district where the ship is being held, told reporters that the two sides exchanged heavy gunfire in the morning and at noon.

The confrontation occurred when a boat from the shore tried to send supply to the pirates holding the ship, Shire revealed to reporters.

He added that negotiation was ongoing to rescue the hijacked ship and its crew.

Sources revealed that Puntland maritime forces were among those injured in the gun battle.

Pirates on Monday hijacked an oil tanker with 8 crew from Sri Lanka off the coast of Somalia.

The incident came against a backdrop of reduced piracy activities in Somalia. (Colombo Gazette)

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