Pirates on Oct. 19 captured a Chinese cargo ship with its crew of 25 in the Indian Ocean, 700 nautical miles from the Somali coast, according to news reports citing the European Union's anti-piracy force.
The hijacking is the first of a Chinese vessel since China’s navy deployed three naval warships to the sea lanes near Somalia. This attack may be the farthest yet from the Somali coast, Cmdr. John Harbour of the EU force told the Associated Press. Coalition forces observed pirates onboard the bulk carrier De Xin Hai. Two light skiffs were being towed behind it, he said. The ship was not registered with the force's Horn of Africa Maritime Security Centre.
Five other vessels are known to be in possession of Somali pirates, who have carried out 179 attacks since the beginning of the year, Ecoterra International, a non-governmental observer told Agence France Presse. Of those attacks, 52 have been successful, Ecoterra said. Approximately 146 people, including the De Xin Hai crew, are currently being held hostage by the pirates, according to AP.
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