Iranian navy frees Chinese ship hijacked by pirates

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 06, 2012 3:34 PM
Iranian navy frees Chinese ship hijacked by pirates

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iranian naval forces freed a Chinese freighter hijacked by Somali pirates off southern Iran on Friday and arrested all the attackers, the semi-official Iranian news agency Fars reported.

"Through the successful mission of Iranian naval forces, the ship was released and nine pirates were arrested," Iranian port official Saeed Izadiyan said, according to Fars. It did not say whether anyone had been hurt.

The Xianghuamen, owned by Nanjing Ocean Shipping Co Ltd, had been seized on Friday morning in the Gulf of Oman near the south Iranian port of Chabahar, the Chinese embassy in Tehran reported on its website.

Izadiyan said the pirates were Somali and that the ship was now on its way to Iran.

The Xianghuamen had departed from Shanghai, stopped to unload goods in Singapore, and had been on its way to Imam Khomeini port in southwest Iran, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.

Chinese ambassador to Iran Yu Hongyang had demanded that Iran make the safety of the crew a priority, Xinhua reported.

(Reporting by Terril Yue Jones and Zhou Xin; Editing by Andrew Roche)