The story appears on

Page A3

October 20, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Nation

Ship with 25 Chinese aboard seized in Somali pirate strike

SOMALI pirates seized a Chinese cargo ship yesterday with 25 people onboard, a naval spokesman for the European Union's anti-piracy force said, in the first successful attack on a Chinese vessel since the country deployed three naval warships to the region.

Commander John Harbour said coalition forces saw at least four pirates on the deck of the De Xin Hai, and the cargo ship also was towing two light skiffs used by the pirates. All 25 crew onboard are Chinese, he said.

"It was last reported heading west toward the Somali coast," Harbour said.

China's Ministry of Transport said yesterday that government agencies were making efforts to rescue the hijacked Chinese bulk carrier.

The ship, carrying coal from South Africa to India, belongs to Qingdao Ocean Shipping Co Ltd, which reported the incident to the China Maritime Search and Rescue Center at 3:50pm Beijing time.

The attack occurred early yesterday in the Indian Ocean about 1,100 kilometers east of the lawless Somali coastline.

Harbour said he believed it was the farthest afield the pirates had ever struck.

"We're pushing them further and further afield to get targets," he said, referring to a coalition of navies dedicated to fighting piracy in the region.

A previous attack on a Chinese vessel last year was repelled when the crew used homemade Molotov cocktails to fight off the pirates.

The Zhenhua 4 of Shanghai-based Zhenhua Port Machinery Co was one of four vessels seized by pirates on December 17, the same day the United Nations Security Council took a strong stand against the attacks and authorized countries to pursue the gunmen on land.

Nine pirates armed with rocket launchers and heavy machine guns boarded the Chinese ship. The 30 crew members locked themselves in their quarters and used fire hoses and firebombs to prevent the attackers from entering.

The crew fought off the pirates with the help of foreign naval ships patrolling nearby.

The 30 crew members were later awarded US$10,000 each by their company for their brave response.

The hijack occurred just hours after China said it was "seriously considering sending naval ships" to the region.

A Chinese navy fleet with two destroyers and a supply vessel started patrolling the hijack-infested waters off Somalia in January.

Somali pirate gangs have caused havoc in the strategic waterways linking Europe with Asia this year, even though foreign navies patrol the area, and have made millions of dollars from ransom payments.

The pirates recently ramped up attacks after a period of quiet during poor weather.

A total of 146 people, including the crew of the De Xin Hai, are currently being held hostage by pirates.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend