Fri, Apr 02, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Taiwanese fishing vessel chased by pirates off Somalia

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday confirmed that a Taiwanese fishing boat was chased off the Somali coast by pirates for several hours at about midnight. One crew member was wounded during the incident.

The vessel had since evaded the pirate ship and was heading for the Maldives, the ministry said.

Samuel Chen (陳士良), ­director-general of the ministry’s Department of African Affairs, told a press briefing that the fishing boat Ruei Man Fa was chased by a light boat sent by a larger pirate ship passing off as a Taiwanese vessel about 395 nautical miles (731km) southeast of Somalia’s Cape Guardafui.

Hsu Ching-tsuan (許清鑽), the captain of the fishing boat, said the light boat fired between 50 and 60 rounds at the Taiwanese boat during the chase, hitting an Indonesian crew member in the thigh.

The bullet did not hit any major arteries and the bleeding soon stopped, Chen said.

The fishing boat has a crew of 14, two of them Taiwanese nationals, Chen said.

The light boat appeared to have given up the chase around 3:55am and the Taiwanese vessel headed toward the Maldives at a speed of 9 knots per hour, he said, adding that it would take the vessel about 100 hours to reach its destination.

Chen said the ministry received an emergency notice about the attack at about 1am, after which the department informed the Piracy Reporting Center at the International Maritime Organization’s International Maritime Bureau in Kuala Lumpur.

The ministry also asked ­Mauritius-based personnel from the Fisheries Agency to ensure the wounded crew member received medical treatment after the boat arrives in the Maldives, Chen said.

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