Europe

Pirates hijack freighter off Somalia's coast, officials say

  • FILE - In this Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012 file photo, masked and armed Somali pirate Hassan stands near a Taiwanese fishing vessel washed ashore after the pirates were paid a ransom and the crew were released in the once-bustling pirate den of Hobyo, Somalia. Pirates have hijacked an oil tanker off the coast of Somalia, Somali officials and piracy experts said Tuesday, March 14, 2017, in the first hijacking of a large commercial vessel there since 2012. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh, File)

    FILE - In this Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012 file photo, masked and armed Somali pirate Hassan stands near a Taiwanese fishing vessel washed ashore after the pirates were paid a ransom and the crew were released in the once-bustling pirate den of Hobyo, Somalia. Pirates have hijacked an oil tanker off the coast of Somalia, Somali officials and piracy experts said Tuesday, March 14, 2017, in the first hijacking of a large commercial vessel there since 2012. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken Monday, Oct. 27, 2014, the Aris 13 oil tanker is seen from a helicopter in the harbor of Gladstone, Australia. Pirates have hijacked the Aris 13 oil tanker off the coast of Somalia, officials and piracy experts said Tuesday, March 14, 2017, the first such seizure of a large commercial vessel on the crucial global trade route since 2012. (Kevin Finnigan/Tropic Maritime Images via AP)

    In this photo taken Monday, Oct. 27, 2014, the Aris 13 oil tanker is seen from a helicopter in the harbor of Gladstone, Australia. Pirates have hijacked the Aris 13 oil tanker off the coast of Somalia, officials and piracy experts said Tuesday, March 14, 2017, the first such seizure of a large commercial vessel on the crucial global trade route since 2012. (Kevin Finnigan/Tropic Maritime Images via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo taken Monday, Oct. 27, 2014, the Aris 13 oil tanker is seen from a helicopter in the harbor of Gladstone, Australia. Pirates have hijacked the Aris 13 oil tanker off the coast of Somalia, officials and piracy experts said Tuesday, March 14, 2017, the first such seizure of a large commercial vessel on the crucial global trade route since 2012. (Kevin Finnigan/Tropic Maritime Images via AP)

    In this photo taken Monday, Oct. 27, 2014, the Aris 13 oil tanker is seen from a helicopter in the harbor of Gladstone, Australia. Pirates have hijacked the Aris 13 oil tanker off the coast of Somalia, officials and piracy experts said Tuesday, March 14, 2017, the first such seizure of a large commercial vessel on the crucial global trade route since 2012. (Kevin Finnigan/Tropic Maritime Images via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Somali officials say pirates have hijacked a ship off the coast of the Horn of Africa nation.

One official in the semiautonomous state of Puntland says the incident occurred on Monday. The official says over two dozen men boarded the merchant ship off Somalia's northern coast.

Another official in Puntland says the ship is a Sri Lankan-flagged freighter and is now being moved toward the coast.

Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.

A spokeswoman for the European Union Naval Force operation off Somalia, Flt. Lt. Louise Tagg, confirms that an incident involving an oil tanker has occurred off the coast of Somalia and an investigation is underway.

Piracy has lessened off Somalia's coast in recent years.