Rescued fishing vessel heads to Tanzania

Updated: 2012-07-19 03:01

By Zhou Wa and Cheng Guangjin (China Daily)

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The rescued Taiwan fishing vessel Xufu 1 with 26 crew members was being transferred to Tanzania by Chinese navy warships patrolling the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia on Wednesday, said the Chinese embassy in Tanzania.

The embassy said it was preparing to receive the crew members. It had worked with the Tanzanian government to obtain a voyage permit in Tanzanian waters, reported China Central Television.

The crew members will be examined by a Chinese medical team immediately upon their arrival, and after a brief rest period, they will be flown home, said CCTV.

XuFu 1, with 13 crew members from the Chinese mainland, one from Taiwan and 12 from Vietnam, was hijacked by Somali pirates in December 2010 off the Madagascar coast and taken to Somalia.

The Foreign Ministry worked closely with other ministries, including the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Transport and local governments to rescue the fishermen.

Local government representatives from Anhui and Henan provinces will fly to Tanzania later, according to the Foreign Ministry.

The embassy also contacted the Vietnamese government to discuss transferring the Vietnam fishermen, said CCTV.

The Somali piracy crisis is costing world trade billions of dollars a year, according to The Associated Press.

Chinese ships have undertaken anti-piracy operations off Somalia since late 2008. In early 2010, Beijing agreed to join a multi-nation effort to protect shipping in the Gulf of Aden and nearby stretches of the Indian Ocean.

Somali pirate gangs can stay out at sea for long periods, using captured merchant vessels as mother ships, and have been using Yemen's remote island of Socotra as a refueling hub.

AP contributed to this story.