China moves to stave off Somali pirates

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In an unparalleled move, China, the only permanent member of the UN Security Council yet to involve itself militarily in the pirate crisis in the Gulf of Aden, has decided to send a fleet of military ships to the pirate-infested waters to ward off Somali pirates.

Although the number of ships to be sent are not yet known, Chinese Foreign Ministry second in command, Mr. He Yafei, was quoted as saying, Tuesday, that the government “is seriously considering sending naval ships to the Gulf of Aden and waters off the Somali coast for escorting operations in the near future”.

This week alone Somali pirates have reportedly attacked four ships in the Gulf of Aden hijacking three of them.

The Gulf of Aden, a very important route to China, whose economy is highly dependent on maritime transport, registers a daily average of 4 to 5 Chinese vessels.

Wednesday, a Chinese fishing vessel, Zhenhua 4, was reported to have foiled an attack when crew members held the pirates off with fire hydrants and fire bombs until the arrival of Malaysian coalition forces.

The announcement comes shortly after the UN Security Council adopted a resolution authorising coalition forces to use “necessary” force to capture pirates in Somalia’s territorial waters, along its 3025 kilometre (1,880-miles) coastline as well as pursuing them in-land.

Piracy off Somalia’s coastline has long been rife with over 120 attacks reported in 2008.

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