The MV Yasa Neslihan was en route to China on Wednesday
after pirates freed it in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of
Somalia, Anatolian said, citing Fehmi Ulgener, a lawyer for the
Yasa shipping company which owns the vessel.
Yasa officials had been negotiating with the ship's captors
for its release and had paid an undisclosed amount of money as
ransom, Ulgener told the news agency. The 20 Turkish crew were
all safe, he said.
The Marshall Island-flagged Neslihan was carrying 77,000
tonnes of iron ore from Canada to China when pirates seized the
ship in the Gulf of Aden in late October.
The warships of the People's Liberation Army Navy, decorated by
colored ribbons and flowers, were unmoored at the military port by crew
members in white naval uniforms who saluted the crowds who saw them off.
Two destroyers, DDG-169 Wuhan and DDG-171 Haikou, and the supply
ship Weishanhu from the South Sea Fleet will cruise for about 10 days
to arrive in the Gulf of Aden, joining the multinational patrol in one
of the world's busiest sea lanes where surging piracy endangers
Chinese sailors fought off Somali pirates trying to hijack their
ship in the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday in a new wave of attacks that saw
three other vessels captured.
The high-seas drama heightened
after the UN authorised land operations against the sea bandits who are
currently demanding ransoms for a Saudi super-tanker, an arms-laden
Ukrainian freighter and other ships.
China said it was
considering sending warships to the pirate-infested waters as the
International Maritime Bureau gave details of how Chinese sailors
fought off an attack with the help of international navies.
band of pirates boarded the "Zhenhua 4" on Wednesday, but the sailors
held them off for several hours, giving the international coalition
time to rush forces to the vessel.
"I'm actually very surprised
that the crew managed to hold back the pirates. I don't know how they
did it, but they did it," said Noel Choong, head of the IMB piracy
reporting centre in Kuala Lumpur.
"Because of this action, the
military helicopters came and they managed to chase the pirates away.
The pirates on board eventually left the ship and the master is
proceeding on his course," he told AFP.
The pirates seized a yacht crewed
by two people and two commercial ships: a cargo vessel, the Bosphorus
Progidy; and a tug serving as an oil industry support ship, said
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