Fishing vessel from China's Taiwan released from pirate control

10:35, January 29, 2011      

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Although exact details surrounding the situation are not known at this time, there are indications that the fishing vessel TAI JUAN 227 from China's Taiwan has been released from pirate control, the EU anti piracy mission said on Friday.

The vessel, which had a crew of 28 at the time of the attack, was pirated on May 6, 2010 while operating 700 Nm North East of Seychelles.

EU Naval Force spokesman Paddy O'Kennedy said in a statement that although direct contact with the crew has not been possible, the vessel's owners apparently received a call from the master stating that they had been released but that they did not know why.

According to the EU naval force, the crew were provided with fresh food and water by a U.S. warship after the release. The vessel is currently heading away from Somalia.

The naval spokesman also said that there is confusion surrounding the details of the release as, until three days ago, the FV TAI YUAN 227 was suspected as being used as a pirate mothership.

The Gulf of Aden, a body of water between Somalia and Yemen, is the main sea route between Europe and Asia.

Tankers carrying Middle East oil through the Suez Canal must pass first through the Gulf of Aden. Pirate gangs operating along Somalia's coastline have become increasingly audacious over the past two years, hijacking dozens of merchant ships and their crews to earn ransoms that can top 1 million U.S. dollars per ship.

So far the fledgling Somali government has not dared go after the pirate strongholds, since pirate leaders have more power than the beleaguered government.

Source: Xinhua
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