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Chinese navy races to rescue ship from pirates

TWO People's Liberation Army navy missile frigates are heading at full steam towards waters off Somalia to rescue a hijacked ship with 25 Chinese crew on board.

Rescuers this afternoon faxed the De Xin Hai ship in the Indian Ocean after it was spotted by a European Union navy plane off Somalia early today.

The pilot has locked the position of the ship belonging to Qingdao Ocean Shipping Co Ltd, a subsidiary of China Ocean Shipping or COSCO, according to an EU naval spokesman.

Commander John Harbour said that coalition forces had seen at least two pirates on the deck of the De Xin Hai and the cargo ship was towing two light skiffs used by the pirates.

Chinese authorities have confirmed the identities of all 25 crew members.
The De Xin Hai, carrying about 76,000 tons of coal from South Africa to Mundra in Gujarat, India, was hijacked about 700 nautical miles off the east coast of Somalia yesterday.

Pirates said the ship could be brought to Haradheere, a pirate stronghold, or Hobyo, both in the central portion of Somalia's Indian Ocean coastline, according to Reuters.


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