Pirates: Crew will die if China acts

09:40, December 01, 2009      

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Somali pirates warned yesterday they would kill the crew of a Chinese bulk carrier if the Chinese Navy attempts to wrest control of the vessel from them, Reuters reported Monday.

In a statement, one of the pirates holding the 25 crew members of the coal ship De Xin Hai said the pirates had gotten wind of a Chinese plan to attempt a rescue.

"We know they have arrayed their warships in Somalia waters to attack us," pirate Nur said, reading a statement from aboard the ship. "There have been negotiations between us and the Chinese to release the ship, and we are not ignorant about their deception.

"We are telling them not to gamble with the lives of the Chinese teenagers in our hands. Honestly, we will kill if we are attacked."

Earlier this month, one pirate said his gang and owners of the vessel were discussing a $3.5 million ransom. The Chinese bulk vessel was hijacked with 76,000 tons of coal. The ship is owned by the Qingdao Ocean Shipping Co.

Somalia's lawless 3,000-kilometer coastline provides a perfect haven for pirates to prey on ships heading for the Gulf of Aden.

Somali pirates seized a tanker carrying crude oil from Saudi Arabia to the US in the increasingly dangerous waters off East Africa, the AP reported Monday.

The Greek-owned Maran Centaurus was hijacked Sunday about 1,300 kilometers off the coast of Somalia, said Commander John Harbour, a spokesman for the EU Naval Force. Harbour said there were 28 crew members onboard the 300,000-ton ship.

China's deputy permanent representative to the UN, Liu Zhenmin, expressed support for international efforts against piracy through an integrated approach.

It was essential that all efforts in that area comply with international law and respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Somalia, Liu said November 18.

He proposed that the various naval forces deployed in the waters divide up responsibilities in order to improve the efficiency of escort operations. It was crucial to support the return of stability in Somalia, even though political reconciliation had been stagnant. International efforts should, therefore, be increased on the political and security fronts.

Source:Global Times/Agencies
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