Wednesday, February 16, 2011

CS Daisy Chased by Pirates

As Reported HERE
By Sunny Lee

BEIJING — A South Korean cargo vessel, which was being chased by pirates in the Gulf of Aden, was rescued by the Chinese navy, China’s state media said.

The CS DAISY was being pursued by multiple speed boats late in the afternoon on Feb. 10, according to the state-run Liberation Army Daily, which reported the incident first.

The vessel radioed for help from a nearby Chinese naval escort group, which dispatched a ship-borne helicopter to protect the Korean ship from pirates until it sailed out of the danger zone, the report said.

An official at the South Korean Embassy in Beijing confirmed the news. A foreign ministry official in Seoul also verified the episode, adding all the crewmembers on the CS DAISY were safe.

The Chinese goodwill operation in the pirate-prone Gulf of Aden came as South Korea was occupied by the case of the 11,500-ton freighter Samho Jewelry, hijacked a month ago by pirates in the same seas off the Somali coast. South Korean naval commandos successfully rescued all 21 crewmembers onboard and retook the freighter.

It is not immediately clear how many crewmembers were onboard the CS DAISY at the time of the incident. The pirates were armed with automatic guns and rocket propelled grenades, the report said.

The naval group was able to offer help to the cargo vessel as the former had just completed its own escort mission earlier in the day and was in the vicinity.

It instructed the frigate Xuzhou, about 40 nautical miles away from the scene of the incident, to act. A helicopter took off from the warship and reached the Korean ship within 20 minutes.

While hovering over the merchant ship, the helicopter sent warnings to the pirate boats as the cargo vessel continued to move away from the pirates.

Although South Korea and China are part of a multinational anti-piracy patrol in the area, the goodwill rescue mission by China was refreshing, given the strained ties the two neighbor countries experienced last year over their differences on how to deal with North Korea.

After the successful mission, the South Korean Navy ship in the region sent a message of appreciation to its Chinese counterpart.

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