China, one of the few of the major world powers to avoid sending naval forces to deter pirates and defend against cargo ship captures, reaps the benefits of the international anti-piracy effort today….
By AHMED AL-HAJ, Associated Press Writer
An international anti-piracy force thwarted the attempted takeover of a Chinese cargo ship off the Somali coast on Wednesday, sending in that fired on the bandits and forced them to abandon the ship they had boarded.
In another blow to the region’s thriving piracy trade, the Indian navy handed over 23 pirates it caught at sea to authorities in Yemen.
In Wednesday’s assault, nine pirates armed with guns overtook the Chinese ship with speedboats and boarded the vessel, said Noel Choong, who heads the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy reporting center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
He said the 30-member crew sent a distress message to the bureau as it saw the pirates approaching, then barricaded themselves inside their living quarters. Choong said the bureau quickly alerted the international naval force, which dispatched two helicopters and a warship.
A member of the Dutch special forces stands guard near the bridge of Dutch cargo ship MV Jumbo Javelin as it passes near the Gulf of Aden on Monday, Dec. 8, 2008. The Dutch warship De Ruyter, seen in the background, was escorting the cargo ship through the Gulf of Aden, which has become the world’s top piracy hotspot this year. Pirates have made an estimated $30 million hijacking ships for ransom this year, seizing 40 vessels off Somalia’s 1,880-mile coastline. Fourteen ships remain held along with more than 250 crew members, according to maritime officials.(AP Photo/Tom Maliti, file)
“Two helicopters arrived at the scene first and helped deter the hijacking. They fired at the pirates, forcing them to flee the ship,” he said. There were no injuries during the five-hour ordeal.
“The Chinese ship is very fortunate to have escaped. This is a rare case where pirates have successfully boarded the ship but failed to hijack it,” he added.
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