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Chinese seamen rewarded for saving ship from pirates
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19:12, January 23, 2009

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A Shanghai shipping company has rewarded 30 of its seamen with 10,000 U.S. dollars each after they successfully fought off a pirate attack off Somalia in the Gulf of Aden.

Each crew member of the cargo ship, Zhenhua 4, was being rewarded for their bravery and courage, said Guan Tongxian, president of Shanghai Zhenhua Port Machinery Co.

The crew received the reward in a commendation ceremony at Changxing Island Port, after their vessel returned to Shanghai on Thursday morning to be welcomed by crowds of people.

Nine pirates armed with rocket launchers and heavy machine guns boarded the ship on Dec. 17. The crew locked themselves in cabins, using fire hoses and self-made firebombs to keep the attackers at bay for six hours.

Foreign warships and helicopters were contacted and helped Chinese seamen beat back the pirates later. No one was injured in the attack.

Captain Peng Weiyuan, 57, attributed their success to careful training.

Peng began a drill to fend off a possible pirate attack 10 days before the ship entered the Somali waters.

China sent two navy destroyers and a supply ship to the Gulf of Aden on Dec. 26 to protect Chinese civilian vessels and crews, including those from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, and foreign vessels on request. The vessels arrived in the gulf on Jan. 6.

Source: Xinhua

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