- Title: CHINA/FILE: Beijing vows to rescue hijacked ship by any means
- Date: 24th October 2009
- Summary: AT SEA OFF EYL, SOMALIA (FILE) (REUTERS) PIRATES ON SPEEDBOAT COMING INTO SHORE PIRATES ON SPEEDBOAT VARIOUS OF BOAT WITH PIRATES DOCKING NEXT TO 'MOTHER SHIP' LAS QORAY, SOMALIA (FILE - APRIL 16, 2009) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PIRATES ON SHORE CARRYING GUNS PIRATE BOATS ANCHORED NEAR SHORE
- Embargoed: 8th November 2009 12:00
- Topics: International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVA7GJI2IQXIQ8BVMGE2WEQ0ZM88
- Story Text: China said on Thursday (October 22) it would take all possible measures to rescue the vessel which was hijacked by pirates in the Indian Ocean.
"The Chinese government and military are in the process of rescuing the hijacked vessel and the crew on board by any means possible. Meanwhile, we also keep close contact with other countries, including the ships of foreign militaries escorting in the Gulf of Aden region, in order to make collective rescue efforts," Qian Lihua, director of Foreign Affairs Office of Chinese Defense Ministry told reporters at a conference in Beijing on U.S.-China relations.
The vessel, the De Xin Hai, carrying about 76,000 tonnes of coal from South Africa to the port of Mundra, in Gujarat, India, was hijacked about 700 nautical miles off the east coast of Somalia on Monday (October 19), the European Union's counter-piracy force said.
Pirate sources had said the De Xin Hai would be taken to one of two strongholds on the Somali coast. They have threatened to kill the crew if a rescue is attempted.
Three Chinese warships that accompany merchant shipping convoys through the Gulf of Aden are far away from the site where the De Xin Hai was hijacked.
China also plans to organise a meeting bringing together countries involved in anti-piracy off the Somali coast, Qian said, without giving a time for the gathering.
The meeting was intended to clarify areas of responsibility on the sea and improve coordination.
"China proposed to escort in different regions as there are so many countries' military vessels in the region, we can share the responsibility of escorting in different areas. In that way, we can reduce the risk, and increase the efficiency of escorting. China's proposal has already received many positive responses from many countries especially those taking part in escorting activities," said Qian.
Foreign navies have been deployed off the Gulf of Aden since the turn of the year and have operated convoys as well as setting up a transit corridor for ships to pass vulnerable points.
But their forces have been stretched over the vast expanses of sea, including the Indian Ocean, leaving vessels vulnerable. Somali pirate gangs have caused havoc in the waterways linking Europe to Asia this year, and have made millions of dollars in ransom payments.
China sent its ships to join the anti-piracy operation with much fanfare, saying the action demonstrated its peaceful ambitions as a growing military power.
But many governments worry about China's rising military spending, especially the United States, which has said Beijing is not open enough about its intentions.
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