9 Feb 2009

Chinese fishing boat to be freed

7:29 am on 9 February 2009

Somali pirates said on Sunday they will release a Chinese fishing vessel once they receive a $US1.7 million ransom.

The Tianyu 8 was seized in November off the coast of Kenya. The crew included 15 Chinese, one Taiwanese, one Japanese, three Filipinos and four Vietnamese.

Dozens of ships were seized last year in the Gulf of Aden, which connects Europe to Asia and the Middle East via the Suez Canal.

Last month, China sent a naval mission consisting of a destroyer and four ships to help other navies in the region.

On 8 January, the US Navy announced a new task force specifically dedicated to combating piracy in the region.

A Ukrainian ship, the MV Faina, was released last week. It was carrying 33 Soviet-era tanks that was headed for Kenya in September.

However, another tanker was hijacked on Thursday.