China joins fight against Somali pirates

December 19th, 2008 - 2:28 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, Dec 19 (ANI): China Foreign Ministry has said that they will send People Liberation Navy ships to Somali waters to combat pirates.

It will be the first operation of its kind and the first active deployment of the countrys warships beyond the Pacific, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced on Thursday.

We have decided to send navy vessels to crack down on Somali pirates. Preparations are under way,” spokesman Liu Jianchao told reporters.

Two destroyers and a large supply ship would be part of the Chinese fleet, Beijing-based Global Times quoted unnamed maritime sources, as saying.

The ships will leave Sanya, Hainan province, after Christmas on a three-month mission.

The announcement came hours after nine pirates attacked a Chinese cargo ship with 30 crewmen in Somali waters on Wednesday.

But two warships and a helicopter of Malaysia rescued Zhenhua 4, owned by China Communications Construction Co.

China deeply appreciates the effective assistance from Malaysia and relevant international organizations, The China Daily quoted Liu, as saying.

Peng Weiyuan, captain of the ship, told China Central Television over the phone that the crew used water cannon, self-made incendiary bombs, beer bottles and other missiles to battle with the pirates.

Thirty minutes later, the pirates gestured to us for a ceasefire then the helicopter from the joint fleet came to our help, he said.

Twenty percent of the 1,265 Chinese ships that have passed through the waters in the first 11 months of this year, have faced such attacks, Liu said.

Seven of these ships were hijacked, and the pirates were still holding a Chinese fishing ship and 18 sailors. (ANI)

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