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Ships Warned of Piracy in Somalia
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The Maritime Safety Administration of China (MSAC) has warned Chinese ships to be vigilant against piracy in Somali waters.

The MSAC issued an urgent circular on Tuesday instructing Chinese ship-owners, shipping companies and captains to be on high alert for piracy and adopt necessary measures according to relevant procedures issued by the International Maritime Organization and the MSAC's advisory.

The circular said since 1991, piracy in the waters off the coast of Somalia has been rampant. Statistics from the International Maritime Bureau show that pirates have moved from inshore waters to the high seas 200 sea miles from the coast.

Zhai Jiugang, an official with the China Maritime Search and Rescue Center, said this month alone six piracy cases had been reported in Somali waters, including a Taiwan fishing vessel hijacked on May 16, with four Taiwanese sailors and eight workers from the Chinese mainland aboard.

The MSAC urged Chinese crews to monitor information on pirate activities in Somali waters and be vigilant when passing through those areas. Shipping companies should report to the China Maritime Search and Rescue Center immediately on learning of pirate attacks. It also advised captains to avoid Somali waters if possible.

(Xinhua News Agency May 23, 2007)

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