19 Jul 2012

China helps rescue Taiwanese boat taken by pirates

4:48 pm on 19 July 2012

China has helped rescue the crew of a Taiwanese fishing boat seized by Somali pirates off Madagascar more than 18 months ago.

Taiwan's foreign ministry says the 26 crew members were released after ransom talks between the pirates and the boat's owner.

But the hostages were unable to leave under their own steam as their boat had run aground, and were taken to Tanzania by a Chinese navy vessel.

The release of the crew was also confirmed by China's foreign ministry.

The Shiuh Fu No 1 was seized off the coast of Madagascar in December 2010 before being taken to Somalia.

Its crew included 13 Chinese and 12 Vietnamese nationals, as well as a Taiwanese captain.

Chinese ships have undertaken anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia since late 2008.

The BBC reports pirates are currently believed to be holding about seven hijacked vessels and their crews.