A Chinese ship escaped pirate hijack in the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday, after the crew fought for four hours with the help of a multi-coalition force. No injuries or deaths were reported.
The ship "Zhenhua 4" is owned by China Communications Construction Co. and is registered in Saint Vincent. The company lost contact with the sailors after the ship was attacked by pirates at 12:43 p.m. (Beijing time).
A file photo of the Chinese ship "Zhenhua 4"
Nine pirates armed with rocket launchers and heavy machine guns boarded the ship. The 30 crew members locked themselves in their accommodation area, using fire hydrants and firebombs to prevent the attackers from entering, said an official with China Maritime Search and Rescue Center (CMSRC).
He said Vice Transport Minister Weng Mengyong went to the center immediately after he got the message and coordinated rescue efforts by the Malaysia-based International Maritime Bureau (IMB) and a multi-coalition force.
Supported by helicopters and warships, the crew members succeeded in forcing the pirates off the ship.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei said Tuesday in the U.S. "China is seriously considering sending naval ships to the Gulf of Aden and waters off the Somali coast for escorting operations in the near future".
The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Tuesday to authorize nations to conduct land and air attacks on pirate bases on the coast of Somalia where pirates have hijacked more than 40 vessels this year.
Many of the hijacks took place in the Gulf of Aden which lies between Somalia and Yemen, one of the world's busiest waterways with some 20,000 ships sailing through each year.
(Xinhua News Agency December 17, 2008)