A Singapore-registered ship with 19 Chinese sailors onboard was hijacked on yesterday in the Gulf of Aden, where Somali pirates have menaced ocean traffic, the Singaporean and Chinese governments said.
The MT Golden Blessing was on its way from Saudi Arabia to India when it was boarded off East Africa, said a brief Chinese-language report on the Chinese Ministry of Transport’s website (www.moc.gov.cn).
“Currently, a rescue operation is under way,” said the report, which said the vessel was a container ship.
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore described the vessel as a petroleum/chemical tanker and said the crew were safe.
The reports did not specify any demands from the pirates.
Somali pirates have made millions of dollars in ransoms by hijacking ships off their anarchic country’s coast and have extended their range using mother ships, sometimes seized vessels, from which to launch attacks with smaller craft.
Chinese sailors have been caught before by pirates around the Gulf of Aden. In December, the crew of a Chinese ship hijacked by Somali pirates in mid-October was safely rescued.
China is among the nations participating in a multi-national effort against pirates who use Somalia as a base.