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Released Chinese crew members leave Tanzania for home

(Xinhua)

08:58, July 24, 2012

DAR ES SALAAM, July 23 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese crew members of Taiwan trawler "Xu Fu No 1", seized by Somali pirates about 19 months ago, left here for home on Monday.

Xu Fu NO 1, with 13 crew members from the Chinese mainland, the captain from Taiwan and 12 from Vietnam, was hijacked by Somali pirates in December 2010 off the Madagascar coast and taken to Somalia. The crew members were released on July 17, 2012 and picked up by the Chinese naval vessel.

The crews from the Chinese mainland took a Qatar airline flight to Beijing via Doha, while the captain is to return to Taiwan via Hong Kong.

Chinese ambassador to Tanzania Lv Youqing who saw the Chinese crews off at airport encouraged the former hostages to pick up their life from where it was interrupted.

The crews boarded the Chinese naval "Chang Zhou" frigate in Somalia and were escorted to Tanzania for transfer, where the Vietnamese crews were handed over to their embassy on arrival on Saturday morning.

The freed Chinese crews were given medical check-up in the hotel and appeared to be in suitable condition for the rest of their journey.

Lack of a functional government for the last two decades, Somalia become fiefdoms of warlords and gangsters, who directly or indirectly get involve in piracy which can bring millions of dollars in turn for the last few years.

There were few attempted hijackings by Somali pirates since this year and fewer successful pirate attacks due to increased awareness of the commercial vessels and concerted efforts to battle the vice, Tanzania army said recently.

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