Mar 14, Colombo: Sri Lanka said today the vessel allegedly hijacked by Somali pirates is not registered under a Sri Lankan flag as the media have reported but the freighter has an eight-member Sri Lankan crew on board.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry in a statement said today it is aware of media reports regarding the alleged hijacking of a reportedly "Sri Lankan-flagged fuel freighter" by pirates.
The Ministry said it is taking action to verify the alleged incident, and initial enquiries have revealed that while the vessel involved is not registered under a Sri Lankan flag, it has an eight member Sri Lankan crew.
The Ministry said it continues to remain in touch with the shipping agents, concerned authorities, as well as relevant Sri Lanka Missions overseas to ascertain further information on the matter in order to ensure the safety and welfare of the Sri Lankan crew.
"Therefore, as and when confirmed information regarding the alleged incident becomes available, the Ministry will share information in a manner that would not be prejudicial to the safety of the crew," the statement said.
A Reuters report on Tuesday said that according to the piracy expert John Steed of the aid group Oceans Beyond Piracy, Somali pirates are suspected to have hijacked a Sri Lankan-flagged fuel freighter, Dubai-owned Aris 13 after the ship sent a distress call, turned off its tracking system and altered course for the Somali coast.