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Taiwan ships 'can ask for mainland escorts' off Somalia
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Taiwan ships could ask the mainland's naval task force for escorts against pirates, sources said in Beijing on Monday.

Taiwan ships could make the request through the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) to the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), the sources said.

The ARATS would then send the request to the sea rescue center under the Ministry of Transport.

The ARATS said it had notified SEF of the situation.

The convoy, which includes two of the nation's most sophisticated naval destroyers, set sail last Friday for the Gulf of Aden, where pirates have become increasingly active.

The primary mission of the two destroyers, DDG-169 Wuhan and DDG-171 Haikou, and a supply vessel Weishanhu, is to join the multi-national efforts endorsed by four United Nations Security Council resolutions to patrol one of the world's busiest marine routes, where surging piracy endangers inter-continental shipping.

(Xinhua News Agency December 30, 2008)

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