China searches for boat after pirates report
Updated: 2007-04-28 15:44
A Chinese fishing boat and its 18 crew disappeared in
the South China Sea shortly after its captain reported pirates had boarded his
vessel, Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.
The captain of "Qionghai 08099" phoned his family on
Thursday morning saying his boat was being robbed by armed pirates after
experiencing mechanical problems near the Spratly Islands, a Hainan provincial
official was quoted by Xinhua as saying.
marine officials from China's southernmost province of Hainan dispatched a coast
guard ship and mobilized other fishing vessels to aid in the search.
Captain Xu Demin first called his wife saying a group of
unidentified men were robbing his boat. Twenty minutes later Xu phoned a cousin,
saying that the robbers had left with his catch of fish, but that another
unidentified vessel was approaching.
The family has
had no further contact with Xu since the second call, according to the report.
The Spratly Islands are a string of tiny islands in
an area that is claimed all or in part by by China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei,
Malaysia and the Philippines.
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