A Chinese cargo ship that was hijacked by Somali pirates on Friday in the Sea of Oman has been freed. Iran’s state TV said the country’s navy has rescued all of the ship’s 28 crew members. One was injured, however, reportedly from a rebounding shell fired by the pirates.
A nearly ten-hour hijacking ordeal ended on Friday afternoon when all 28 Chinese crew members aboard a Chinese freighter taken by Somali pirates were rescued. China’s ambassador to Iran later commented on the incident.
Chinese ambassador to Iran Yu Hongyang (C) talks over the phone with He Feng, capitan of the rescued cargo ship Xianghuamen, in Tehran, Iran, April 6, 2012. All 28 Chinese crew members aboard a China-linked cargo ship hijacked by Somali pirates were rescued on Friday, the Chinese embassy in Tehran said. [Xinhua/He Guanghai]
Yu Hongyang, Chinese ambassador to Iran, said, "Thanks to joint efforts of China and Iran, the freighter Xianghuamen was successfully rescued at about 18:30 local time and all 28 Chinese crew members aboard are safe and sound. The hijacking was a surprise and occurred far from China, which made our rescue efforts difficult."
The cargo ship, Xianghuamen, was hijacked by Somali pirates Friday morning in the Sea of Oman near Iran’s southern port of Chabahar.
Nine Somali pirates used ladders to climb onto the cargo ship, fired shots aboard, and seized the Chinese crew.
Two Iranian naval warships later joined the rescue - trailing the vessel and ordering the pirates to surrender. Ultimately the captors gave in - throwing their weapons into the sea and surrendering to the Iranian navy.
Rear Admiral Mousavi, navy operations deputy, said, "As soon as we learned about the incident, we prepared our teams as quickly as possible and dispatched rescue forces to the scene."
The Chinese freighter, carrying iron, was headed to a port in southwestern Iran. Its engine is now damaged. Once repaired, the ship will head for the Iranian port of Gask.