Author: Chen Boyuan
Posted on: China.org.cn, April 13th, 2017
The Chinese military confirmed on April 12 that a PLA (People’s Liberation Army) vessel had rescued a Tuvalu-registered cargo ship from pirate control in the Gulf of Aden on April 9.
The Ministry of National Defense (MOD) said in a statement that a PLA task force on escort mission in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somalia received intelligence at dusk on April 8 that a Tuvalu-registered cargo ship (hull number OS 35) had been hijacked by pirates in the waters northwest of the Socotra.
The distress signal sent by the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Organisation (UKMTO) said a boat carrying an unconfirmed number of pirates had berthed alongside the cargo ship. The Chinese guided missile frigate Yulin instantly dashed to the area while informing other countries’ escort fleets of the incident.
Yulin launched the rescue operation in the early hours of April 9, shortly after arriving at the scene at midnight. Sixteen Special Forces soldiers boarded the hijacked vessel and managed to rescue all 19 crew members. All of the personnel and cargo on the ship were unharmed.
But the MOD’s information bureau did not mention whether there were casualties on the pirates or whether they were arrested, pending trials.
The MOD said that the rescue operation exhibited the Chinese military’s resolution and capability in anti-piracy missions, and exemplified China’s commitment to preserving international navigational safety.
The statement added that China maintained an open and clear attitude towards international cooperation on anti-piracy.
Other sources claimed the Indian navy also participated in the rescue operation but only PLA soldiers boarded the cargo ship and freed its crew.