12 Chinese on fishing vessel hijacked off Somalia

Updated: 2007-05-19 17:04

A Taiwan fishing vessel hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia on Wednesday has four Taiwanese sailors and eight workers from the Chinese mainland aboard, said sources from Taiwan.

The Taiwan vessel, "Qingzihao", whose captain was identified by his surname Chen, sailed out in February 2006 from Hsiaokang, Kaohsiung in southwestern Taiwan with the 12 crew members aboard, the sources said.

But it is still unclear whether the number of crew had added after the ship left the port, which had planned to stay 912 days on the sea.

The Taiwan fishery authorities said that the situation is unclear and they are working hard to deal with the incident.

On Tuesday, two fishing vessels from the Republic of Korea were hijacked off the coast of Somalia. The ROK ships have 25 crew members aboard, 10 Chinese, four from ROK, three Vietnamese, four Indonesians and four Indians.

"The Taiwanese ship is being held together with the ROK ones, "said Andrew Mwangura, coordinator of the Mombasa-based Seafarers Assistance Program.

Reports reaching here say that all hostages have been confirmed to be safe, Mwangura told Xinhua by telephone from Mombasa.

"The hijacked ships have been taken to an area 400 kilometers north of Somalia, but rescuers have not yet found the crew members aboard," said Du Yongdong, an official with the China Maritime Search and Rescue Center.

All parties are organizing rescue efforts, he said.

At least seven ships had been hijacked in this area before this incident, but all the crew members returned safely after successful negotiations between rescuers and hijackers.

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