Aris 13 carried eight crew members from Sri Lanka, according to the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The European Union anti-piracy operation in the region announced late Tuesday that the armed men are holding the crew captive and demanding a ransom for the ship's release.
An EU Naval Force photo shows the Aris 13 ship. The Sri Lankan government said that eight of its citizens were on the ship.
"Without any pirate attack for five years, the number of assets and resources available to worldwide naval forces are less than they were at the height of piracy", he said. "Then it disappeared", said Steed, an expert on piracy who is in contact with naval forces tracking the ship, on Tuesday (Wednesday NZT). "Merchant shipping should continue to take protective measures against possible piracy attacks in the Gulf of Aden and the western Indian Ocean through diligent application of IMO guidance and Best Management Practices", Lim said. It was the first attack on a large ship by East African pirates since 2012.
"Foreign fishermen destroyed their livelihoods and deprived them of proper fishing", he said.
Chief executive of Sailors' Society-a charity that aids seafarers-Stuart Rivers said that it was "distressing" to hear that pirates were active again off the Somali coast.
"The ship reported it was being followed by two skiffs yesterday (Monday) afternoon".
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The high point in Somali piracy came in 2010, both in terms of vessels hijacked and the number of seafarers taken prisoner for ransom.
It was not clear who owned the ship or where it was flagged.
An official with knowledge of the incident said that no ransom demand had been made by the pirates.
Aris 13 is owned by Panama company Armi Shipping and managed by Aurora Ship Management in the United Arab Emirates, according to the Equasis shipping data website.
Steed said the tanker which was carrying a cargo of gas and fuel was not registered with the Maritime Security Center for the Horn of Africa, an organization that registers and tracks commercial traffic in the region. But the incident doesn't necessarily mean that the threat of piracy near Somalia is once again on the rise.
"Credible reports indicate that Somali pirates possess the intent and capability to resume attacks against large commercial ships, should the opportunity present itself", read the United Nations report.
"While we have seen a very welcome decline in piracy off Somalia since the last reported hijack by Somali pirates in 2012, the reality is that piracy off the coast of Somalia has not been eradicated and the underlying conditions have not changed".