The Sri Lankan embassies in Kenya and Washington have been asked to secure more information regarding the hijacking of a Panama flagged merchant vessel with Sri Lankans onboard by Somali pirates early yesterday.
The External Affairs ministry said as Sri Lanka does not have a Mission in Somalia, the Embassy in Kenya had been asked to establish contact with the Somali pirates to seek the release of the Sri Lankans on board.
Meanwhile the Sri Lankan Embassy in Washington has also been asked to get in touch with the American company under which the Panama flagged merchant vessel was operating in order to gather more information about those on board. The External Affairs ministry said the exact number of Sri Lankans on board the vessel is still not known. However, the European Union Naval Force in Somalia had said yesterday that the ship had a 23 member crew from Egypt, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India.
The MV SUEZ was reportedly under small arms fire from the pirate attack and minutes later she reported pirates on board. After notification of the attack, attempts made to make contact with the MV SUEZ had failed.
MV SUEZ was travelling in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor when attacked. Immediately after the first report, a helicopter was directed to the ship, but the pirates had already taken over the command of the vessel.