EU Naval Force: Chinese hostage safe

2009-10-20 08:33 BJT

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The EU Naval Force is reporting that all 25 Chinese hostages from a hijacked bulk carrier are in good condition. The ship, named the "De Xin Hai," had been attacked and occupied in the Indian Ocean less than 24 hours earlier.

The European Union Naval Force says that a Maritime Patrol Aircraft was quickly sent up to investigate Monday's shipjacking.

Piracy has been rampant off the coast of Somalia in recent years. The illicit activity has prompted a dozen nations, including China, to send naval fleets to the Gulf of Aden on escort missions.

China's Ministry of Transport said late Monday that relevant government agencies were making efforts to rescue the bulk carrier.

The cargo vessel was hijacked early in the day while en route from South Africa to India. There were 25 crew members aboard the ship.

The EU Naval Force says that, counting the 25 Chinese sailors, the total number of hostages held by pirates off the Somali coastline has reached 146.