Asia

Somali official says pirates open fire on local naval forces

  • 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)

  • Pirates hijack freighter off Somalia’s coast

    Pirates hijack freighter off Somalia‚Äôs coast  (The Associated Press)

A Somali official says pirates who seized an oil tanker have opened fire on naval troops from the semiautonomous state of Puntland, sparking clashes between the two sides.

Ali Shire Mohamud, the commissioner of Alula district where the ship is being held, says clashes started after naval forces tried to stop a boat carrying reinforcement pirates to the ship.

Puntland dispatched naval forces to the area after the pirates seized the ship on Monday.

Mohamud declined to give further details.

The European Union anti-piracy operation in the region says the pirates are holding the crew captive and demanding a ransom.

The hijacking on Monday was the first such seizure of a large commercial vessel off Somalia since 2012. International anti-piracy patrols on the crucial trade route had calmed such attacks.