Chinese sailors freed by Somali pirates take flight home

Updated 2016-10-25 08:46:13 Xinhua
Chinese crew members (wearing caps) freed by Somali pirates arrive at the airport before heading home, in Nairobi, Kenya, Oct. 24, 2016.

Chinese crew members (wearing caps) freed by Somali pirates arrive at the airport before heading home, in Nairobi, Kenya, Oct. 24, 2016.

Nine out of the ten Chinese crew members freed by Somali pirates took a flight home on Monday from the Kenyan capital Nairobi, accompanied by officials sent from Beijing.

Twenty-six crew members, including the ten Chinese, were released on Saturday after almost five years in captivity. They arrived in Nairobi one day later with UN help.

The ten Chinese include nine from the Chinese mainland and one from Taiwan. One of them is receiving treatment in Nairobi. Chinese ambassador to Kenya, Liu Xianfa, had met them.

A total of 29 men were in an Omani-flagged fishing vessel FV Naham 3, which was hijacked south of the Seychelles in March 2012, according to John Steed, a regional coordinator of Oceans Beyond Piracy, which is involved in the rescue operation.

They are from China, the Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia and Vietnam. Three of them, including one from the Chinese mainland and one from Taiwan, had died.

The Chinese government has expressed thanks to "all the organizations and people involved in the rescue operation," and its condolences to the families of the deceased crew members.

A report released by the International Maritime Bureau of the International Chamber Commerce in July said piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia had fallen to its lowest levels since 1995 with only one incident recorded in the past six months.

The report attributed the fall to operations by foreign warships. Chinese naval fleets have been involved in escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia, fighting pirates.

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