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China's escort ship picks up fishermen seized by Somali pirates

07-19-2012 14:31 BJT

26 rescued fishermen have been held for 18 months by Somali pirates.

China’s escort ship Changzhou arrives at a designated area to pick them up.

26 crew is being transferred to Tanzania by Chinese navy warships.

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Somali pirates have released a group of 26 fishermen they seized from a Taiwanese trawler and held for 18 months.

The crew of the FV Shiuh Fu Number one was seized in December 2010. They included 13 from the Chinese mainland, 12 Vietnamese and one from Taiwan.

On Tuesday morning, China’s escort ship Changzhou arrived at a designated area agreed between the Chinese government and the pirates to pick them up.

However, due to strong winds, they had to send a helicopter in order to complete the mission. Chinese naval forces operating anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia are now looking after the fishermen and plan to take them to Tanzania.

Wang Mingyong, Commander of Changzhou, said, "The wind was too strong in the area, so we employed a helicopter to get them. It took five flights and 65 minutes to fly all 26 members back, safely."

A rescued fisherman said, "It has been 19 months since we were hijacked by Somali Pirates. We were saved by the Chinese Navy yesterday. We are all very happy and excited. We felt a sense of being back home when we met our compatriots. I appreciate a lot the efforts of our government, and I am proud of being Chinese."

The Chinese embassy in Tanzania says the 26 crew is being transferred to Tanzania by Chinese navy warships patrolling the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia. The embassy also says it has worked with the Tanzanian government to obtain a voyage permit in Tanzanian waters. The crew members will be examined by a Chinese medical team immediately upon their arrival, and after a brief rest period, they will be flown home.

Rescued fishermen

Editor:Wang Chuhan |Source: CNTV.CN

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