Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tianjin Fishing Boat Hijacked by Somali Pirates

A Tianjin based fishing boat was hijacked by Somali pirates last Friday. More than 100 ships had been hijacked by Somali pirates this year. The Tianyu 8 was operating near Kenya water when it was attacked by the pirates.

The small ship belongs to Tianjin Deep-Ocean Fishery Company (TDFC), specialized in catching tunas. Among 24 crews, 16 are Chinese nationals, though none are Tianjin residents. Other crew members are from Japan, Vietnam and Philippine. Tianyu 8 operates on the sea all year around, with supplied brought in and harvest taken out by other supporting ships. The ship was accompanied by a sister fishing ship Tianyu 7 operating nearby, but the armed pirates left them no chance to response. TDFC is the largest fishery company in Tianjin, made $1.2 millon profit in the year 2007.

Somali pirate ship usually disguised itself as fishing ship to approach the target. When within attacking distance, smaller boats will be released to launch the attack, often in midnight. US Navy ships were nearby to take this picture, but did not intervene.

Several countries had sent warships to the area to in the wake of the recent sudden increasing of hijackings. Although Russian, Indian and British warships managed to stop or sink a few pirate ships, the dominance force in the area the US Navy had been seen holding their guns. Several US Navy warships were hanging around in the area, but they never got involved in direct conflict with Somali pirates, which drew international skepticism on their role behind the scene. Also over last weekend, a Saudi oil super-tanker the Sirius Star carrying 2 million barrels of oil was seized by Somali pirates under US Navy's watch. The shipping insurance had increased 10 times since the beginning of the year.

Where is the PLAN Navy?

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