Mar 17, Colombo: The government of Sri Lanka today expressed its deep appreciation to all the relevant authorities involved in getting the Aris 13 oil tanker and the eight Sri Lankan crew released from the Somali hijackers.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement announced that the vessel 'Aris 13' that was hijacked by pirates was released late last night/ early this morning (16-17 March Sri Lankan time) along with the eight Sri Lankan crew. The crew members were released unharmed, without the payment of a ransom.
"The Ministry wishes to express its deep appreciation on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka, to the President of Puntland, the semi-autonomous region of Somalia, and his Chief of Staff Abdinasir Sofe, who cooperated and collaborated with the relevant officials of the Government of Sri Lanka in securing the release of the vessel and crew. This task would not have been made possible without their unstinted and active effort," the Ministry statement said.
The Government of Sri Lanka also expressed its gratitude to the Government of the United States of America, the Ambassador of the United States of America in Sri Lanka, the Combined Naval Force in Bahrain, the EU, and all other Governments, Organizations and individuals who extended their assistance in this effort, as well as all local Ministries, Departments, and individuals.
Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva in a Facebook post thanked "the President of Puntland Region Mr Gaas and his Chief of Staff Mr Abdinasir Sofe who continuously communicated with us to defuse the escalation that saw shots being fired."
"We appreciate the understanding that led to a negotiated settlement. Our appreciation to Combined Naval Force in Bahrain, EU Defence and Sri Lanka Navy. We thank the US government for helping us establish contact between us and the Puntland Presidency and all others who helped. Relieved!"