China says no nationals on ship hijacked off Seychelles | world | Hindustan Times
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China says no nationals on ship hijacked off Seychelles

China said on Monday that none of the crew on board a cargo ship seized by Somali pirates at the weekend in the Indian Ocean were Chinese nationals, contradicting earlier reports.

world Updated: Apr 12, 2010 09:35 IST

China said on Monday that none of the crew on board a cargo ship seized by Somali pirates at the weekend in the Indian Ocean were Chinese nationals, contradicting earlier reports.

China’s Maritime Search and Rescue Centre said it had confirmed with the European Union naval force and local authorities that the crew members of the Rak Africana were from India, Pakistan and Tanzania.

On Sunday, the Kenya-based Seafarers Assistance Programme said the 23 crew were all Chinese. Officials in Beijing put the total number of crew at 26.

The Rak Africana, which sails under a flag of convenience from St Vincent and the Grenadines, was hijacked about 280 nautical miles (520 kilometres) west of the Seychelles, the EU naval force off Somalia said in a statement.

One of its maritime patrol aircraft had spotted the vessel and reported eight people on board, “three of them possible pirates,” it said, adding that the Italian frigate Scirocco was en route to the area.

The EU naval force did not disclose where the Rak Afrikana was sailing from, going to, or the nationality of its crew, but it noted that the vessel was “currently stopped due to engine problems."