China is considering sending warships to fight pirates off the coast of Somalia, the foreign ministry said Thursday.
"The Chinese side is actively considering sending naval ships to the Gulf of Aden and the Somalia seas to safeguard sea lanes," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said.
Liu's remarks came one day after a Chinese commercial vessel was attacked by pirates in the Gulf of Aden.
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. on Wednesday (Beijing time).
Nine pirates armed with rocket launchers and heavy machine guns boarded the ship where 30 crew members locked themselves in their accommodation area, using fire hydrants and firebombs to prevent the attackers from entering.
Liu said China turned to the International Maritime Bureau based in Kuala Lumpur for help, which sent helicopters and warships to rescue the Chinese vessel.
No injuries or deaths were reported from the ship.
"We deeply appreciate the effective help offered by Malaysia and the related international organizations," Liu said.