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January 11, 2010

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Hijacked crew head home on leave

THE crew of the Chinese carrier De Xin Hai, who were released by Somali pirates on December 28, leave Qingdao City in Shandong Province today to spend several months' leave with their families.

Medical checks found the sailers were all healthy, said Miao Shengying, an executive of the ship owner Qingdao Ocean Shipping Company of China Ocean Shipping (Group) Co.

A Shandong Airlines flight took the 25 crew to an army-owned beach resort in Qingdao after their arrival in Shenzhen on Thursday from Colombo in Sri Lanka.

The crew and the cargo vessel carrying 76,000 tons of coal were hijacked on October 19 in the Indian Ocean when they were heading to India from South Africa.

They were released after payment of a US$4 million ransom. They were put under the protection of a Chinese naval escort and arrived in Sri Lanka last Tuesday.


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