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Hijacked Fishing Boat Freed In Somalia‎

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Hijacked Fishing Boat Freed In Somalia

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Taipei, Taiwan, January 26, 2006 (AFP/Sapa) – One of the four Taiwanese fishing boats hijacked off the coast of Somalia last year was released on Thursday, the government said.

"Under the rescue efforts by related government units and ship owners, Chung Yi 218 had safely set sail from Somali waters and was on its way home," the Fisheries Administration said in a statement.

The ship and two other vessels, the Cheng Ching Feng and Hsin Lien Feng 36, were seized separately on August 16. The Feng Rong 16 was hijacked in November.

"The crews on the other three ships are safe and we will continue the rescue efforts," the statement said.

The four vessels carried a total of 62 crew members, including those from China, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Somali pirates reportedly had threatened to kill dozens of the crew unless the ship owners paid a ransom of about $500   000 for each boat.

Somalia was plunged into anarchy after strongman Mohamed Siyad Barre was ousted in 1991 and the country disintegrated into a patchwork of fiefdoms run by unruly warlords and clan militia chiefs.

On Sunday, pirates hijacked another merchant ship, believed to be registered in the United Arab Emirates, off the Somali coast.

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