By Rear Admiral Terry McKnight, US Navy (Retired)
Steaming off the coast of Somalia on the morning of 13 March 2017, the motor vessel Aris 13 came under attack by two skiffs and was taken hostage by Somali pirates. For the first time in more than five years Somali pirates were successful in taking a commercial vessel hostage. At the height of piracy in 2010, almost 200 vessels were attacked and nearly 50 vessels captured annually. Was the capture of the Aris 13 a sign that piracy has returned?
Transiting from Djibouti to the Somali capital of Mogadishu, Aris 13 decided to save time and fuel by navigating within striking distance of the Somali coast and outside the internationally recognized transit corridor (IRTC) that offers the protection of several naval task forces patrolling the region.
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