Chinese Cargo Ship & Crew Held Hostage By Somali Pirates


A Chinese cargo ship (“德新海 De Xin Hai”) with twenty-five Chinese seamen was seized by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean about 700 miles east of the Somali coastline. Headlines in Chinese news websites except Xinhuanet are all about this incident (Sina, NetEase, Mop, Huanqiu, Sohu, Tom, QQ. )


From Xinhua:

QINGDAO, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) — A Chinese company confirmed Tuesday that 25 Chinese crewmembers were being held hostage by pirates in the Indian Ocean.

The bulk carrier De Xin Hai and its 25 crew were hijacked in the Indian Ocean around noon local time Monday.

“We received a report from the cargo ship at 3:50 p.m. (Beijing Time) Monday, saying that armed pirates were aboard the ship, and then we lost touch,” a spokesman for the vessel’s owner, Qingdao Ocean Shipping Co., Ltd., told Xinhua Tuesday.

The company, based in eastern Shandong Province, immediately reported the incident to the China Maritime Search and Rescue Center, he said.

“All of the 25 crew were employed by our company, and we have notified their relatives about the incident,” he said.

Twenty-two of the crew were from Shandong and the other three were from Liaoning, Hebei and Jiangsu provinces.

“We are closely working with the authorities to release the ship and crew,” he said.

The 德新海 "De Xin Hai" Chinese cargo ship.

Crew on a Chinese cargo ship defeated pirates last year with Molotov cocktails and a water cannon but this time people on “De Xin Hai” were not so lucky. Fortunately, the crew hasn’t been hurt so far.

From Xinhua:

LONDON, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) — Spokesman of the European Union (EU)naval force John Harbour confirmed on Monday that 25 Chinese people were taken hostages by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean and they seem to be fine.

Harbour said “the total number held hostages along Somali coast is 146. I can confirm on board the carrier, there are 25 Chinese personnel.”

He said: “I know that the UK Maritime Trade Office has spoken to the owner of the ship, to confirm the figure and they are trying to get in touch with the pirates, at the moment to see what their next intentions are. As far as I am aware the ship is heading to the northwest, which would be towards the Somali coast.”

Harbour said they send a helicopter to investigate the event. It has detected the bulk carrier and has taken photographs that “there were a number of other people seeing on the dock, and these were clearly crew and they seem to be fine.”

A bulk carrier “De Xin Hai” from China was hijacked in the Indian Ocean around noon local time, the EU anti-piracy military organization EU NAVFOR said in a statement on Monday.

EU NAVFOE said in a statement that the ship was hijacked 550 nautical miles North East of the Seychelles and 700 nautical miles off the East coast of Somalia.

“On indication of an attack an EU NAVFOR Maritime Patrol Aircraft, operating from the Seychelles was launched to investigate the incident,” the statement said.

The aircraft located the ship and has reported that there are four pirates visible and 2 small pirate craft being towed by the ship.

The statement also said that the bulk carrier was not registered with the Maritime Security Center Horn of Africa.


There were three PLA naval ships patrolling in the region and the nearest one was 1080 nautical miles away from the hijacked Chinese ship. The position of the ship has been identified and Chinese government vows to save the crew. However, details on how the crew will be rescued haven’t been disclosed, in order to protect their safety. English news can be found on Google News.

More information from Chinese news:

  • Time and position that the cargo ship sent back the last message: October 19th, 16:35 Beijing Time (or 8:35 GMT), 60°4’49”E and 1°49’3.9”S
  • The ship left South Africa and was heading to India.
  • Length of the ship: 225 meters
  • Cargo: coal

Following are translated comments from Chinese websites. There is an insane amount of comments and new ones are coming in every second.

Comments from Sina (7600+ comments so far):

Mobile user from Guangdong:

[The rescue operation must be] more cautious! Wish these compatriots come back home safe!

Mobile user from Guangdong:

It’s time to put [the PLA Navy] to test.

Mobile user from Zhejiang:

Drop three thousand airborne chengguan to Somali and everything will be immediately be settled.

Miduch from Kunming, Yunnan:

Negotiating with terrorist forces is a crime. We should crush them mercilessly and take no compromise even if there are casualties.

Dengwenlq from Guangxi:

[We should] make clear announcement: if they dare to harm Chinese people, we swear to eliminate all Somalian pirates.

Liwei7611 from Wuhan, Hubei:

I suggest sweeping Somali (and take pirates as athletes). Hope in the next National Olympics in 2013 there will be announcement like this:  “the team that’s entering the stadium is Somalian delegation. This is their first time to attend the National Olympics and they have good potential in winning gold medals in boating, swimming and shooting … “

Anonymous mobile user:

As the name says, People’s Liberation Army, [we should] go liberate that country!

修我戈矛偕子同仇  from Zhengzhou, Henan:

If I was kidnapped, I’d like to die with these bastards [pirates]. Our country must not compromise.

“Lover’s valley” from Wenshan County, Yunnan:

Let the war start! I will donate one month’s salary.


Comments from NetEase (almost 8000+ comments at this time):

Sunsky1998 from Shanghai:

This is outrageous! We must find a way to destroy their land bases in order to eliminate future attacks. If we don’t retaliate they will go from bad to worse.

From Zhejiang, Hangzhou:

This is exactly why we need aircraft carriers

From Suzhou, Jiangsu:

When the country is in trouble, it’s everyone’s responsibility to save it.

When the countrymen are in trouble, it’s the country’s responsibility to save them.

[I have] one word to say, rescue [them]!



Written by Python

Python is an enthusiastic supporter and contributor of chinaSMACK. He used to like writing articles for this blog but currently his interest is more on the software side of this website, i.e., fine-tuning server and database, solving scalability problem and maintaining the server's swift and smooth response.

His goal is to have the server running for continuous 12 months, with over 99.9% uptime and 1000 concurrent connections.

In summary, he is the one who smacks chinaSMACK.


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