Iran Warship Wrests Chinese Ship from Pirate Control

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Chinese owned cargo ship hijacked by Somali pirates freed by Iran warship, crew rescued, fate of 9 pirates not stated

All 28 Chinese crew members aboard a China-linked cargo ship hijacked by Somali pirates have been rescued, the Chinese embassy in Tehran said.

The cargo ship, Xianghuamen, was hijacked by Somali pirates in the Sea of Oman near Iran's southern port of Chabahar.The vessel, registered in Panama, belongs to Nanjing Ocean Shipping company in eastern China.

The cargo ship, setting off from Shanghai, made a stopover in Singapore to unload, then headed for Imam Khomeini port in southwestern Iran when it was hijacked.

Nine Somali pirates climbed onto the cargo ship by their own ladders, fired shots on the ship and seized the Chinese crew members on board.

Two Iranian naval warships participating in the rescue operation followed the vessel and ordered the pirates to surrender. The pirates later threw their weapons into the sea and surrendered to the Iranian navy.

The hijacked cargo ship's engine was damaged and is under repair. Later the ship will head for the Iranian port of Gask, 70 miles ( about 112 km) away from where the hijacking occurred and 200 miles (about 322 km) away from the vessel's destination.

Immediately after the hijacking, the Chinese embassy in Tehran contacted related Iranian governmental departments, urging them to spare no efforts to rescue the crew members and ensure their safety.

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