Chinese ship rescued from pirates off Somalian coast

December 18th, 2008 - 1:20 am ICT by IANS  

Nairobi, Dec 17 (Xinhua) An international navy ship rescued a Chinese ship from a group of Somali pirate in the Gulf of Aden, a regional maritime official confirmed Wednesday.Andrew Mwangura, East Africa’s Coordinator of Seafarers Assistance Programme (SAP) said the crew on the Chinese MV Zhen Hua-4 had locked themselves in their cabins and called for help.

“Pirates boarded but 30 crew locked themselves in accommodation room and radioed piracy centre in Malaysia,” Mwangura said in a statement.

“They notified coalition forces who sent two helicopters and one warship. They fired on pirates but did not kill them. Pirates left ship after five hours,” he said.

The attack came a day after the UN authorised troops to pursue the bandits on land in a bid to tackle the increasing problem of piracy in the Gulf of Aden.

Piracy off the coast of Somalia this year has earned gunmen millions of US dollars in ransom and hiked shipping insurance costs.

The seizures have prompted some of the world’s biggest shipping firms to switch routes from the Suez Canal and send cargo vessels around southern Africa instead which could push up the cost of commodities and manufactured goods.

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