China recognises Indian effort in saving sailors

Acknowledging Indian Navy`s effort in rescuing 24 Chinese sailors from a ship hijacked by Somali pirates, China on Monday said it was working out a new security plan to protect its vessels and crew members from such attacks.

Beijing: Acknowledging Indian Navy`s
effort in rescuing 24 Chinese sailors from a ship hijacked by
Somali pirates, China on Monday said it was working out a new
security plan to protect its vessels and crew members from
such attacks.

The Chinese vessel MV Fu Cheng (Full City), registered
in Panama, faced a pirate attack 450 nautical miles off the
Karwar Coast (of Karnataka) while it was on its way from
Jeddah to Tuticorin port on May 6.

The Indian Navy swung into action and mobilised its
aircraft and ships immediately after receiving an emergency
call from the Chinese authorities and thwarted the attack.

"It was thus the navies of other countries, Turkey`s
and India`s among them that helped to drive away the pirates
and escorted the ship to safety," Chinese Vice-Minister of
Transport Xu Zuyuan said.

This is for the first time top Chinese officials
acknowledged efforts of Indian Navy to save the ship.

Currently, 51 sailors from China are in the custody of
pirates, state-run China Daily quoted Xu as saying.

In all Somalian pirates are holding 338 sailors in
custody from various countries besides 26 vessels in
captivity.

So far this year, pirates have attacked 118 vessels
and hijacked 20 ships. In the past week, they assaulted two
ships with Chinese sailors on board.

Xu said his ministry is now trying to learn what other
measures can be adopted to strengthen ships` defences and
mulling over options like paying security-service companies to
station guards on board.

He said sailors should watch out for their own best
interests when they seek employment.

"Many Chinese sailors now work for foreign shipping
companies, but some are small. Once hijacked, these small
foreign shipping companies just disappear at times, abandoning
the hijacked ship and leaving sailors on their own," he said.

"Sailors should know more about a potential employer
before signing a work contract. Government departments and
non-governmental organisations, such as China Shipowners`
Association, can provide information to sailors about foreign
shipping companies," he said.

PTI