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Hero captain may retire

PENG Weiyuan, the captain of the Zhenhua 4, who led crew members fighting off pirates in Somali waters last month, may retire in the near future.

The crew was warmly welcomed at the Changxing shipyard of Shanghai Zhenhua Port Machinery Co and each received US$10,000 from the company's president Guan Tongxian at a ceremony yesterday. The captain was also rewarded with an additional gold medal in appreciation of his actions.

"We had practised for emergencies many times and considered all kinds of situations. The crew members were fully prepared when we encountered the pirates," the 57-year-old captain told a press conference yesterday.

He also disclosed the crew had been advised to collect empty beer bottles. "We have been warned of a possible encounter with pirates before our departure and in the end the bottles proved to be useful and were turned into home-made firebombs," he added.

Peng has been a mariner for 32 years and a captain for 25 years. "He is the best captain that I have ever met," Zheng Yutong, the chief mate of the ship, told Shanghai Daily. "He is a role model as a captain and what he has done has inspired me," he added.


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