While Japanese ship still under seizure by Somali piratesYemen welcomes 24 freed kidnapped Asians [Archives:2007/1101/Local News]

November 8 2007

By: Hamed Thabet
Aden, Nov. 7 ) The Korean ships with a group of 24 Asian sailors held hostage by pirates in Somalia for more than five months was freed on Sunday off the Somali coast and has left for Yemen.” The South Korean Foreign Ministry said.

“The two Korean-owned fishing boats were hijacked on May 15. The Mavuno 1 and Mavuno 2 were manned by four South Koreans, 10 Chinese, four Indonesians, three Vietnamese and three Indians.” Said Officials.

“Three crew members of Korean ships who were wounded in fighting with pirates off the coast of Somalia and treated earlier by U.S. medics were admitted to al-Naqib hospital for treatment in Aden.” said Yemeni Coast Guard officials in southern Yemen port city of Aden.

U.S. sailors and medics boarded the Korean-flagged vessel a week ago and treated the three Koreans and three pirates, who had gunshot wounds, after the sailors overpowered the pirates.

U.S. military said “A helicopter had flown from the destroyer USS James E. Williams to investigate a phoned-in tip of a hijacked ship and demanded by radio that the pirates give up their weapons as the crew of the Dai Hong Dan regained control of the vessel and detained all pirates.”

The release of the two Korean boats followed by a release of Taiwanese ship on Monday.

“The Taiwanese ship and its 12 crew, eight Kenyan and four Taiwanese, were freed from a pirate-held port north of Mogadishu.” announced Andrew Mwangura, head of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Program.

Mwangura added, “The Ching Fong Hwa No. 168 has been released today(on Monday) off Harardheere. It has been there since May””.

The Taiwanese vessel went free as five U.S. warships were escorting two Korean vessels to Yemen.

The following day a North Korean ship was seized off Mogadishu but the crew eventually fought off the attackers with US Navy help.

The U.S. military has recently intervened several times to help ships hijacked by Somali pirates.

Somali pirates are still holding two other crafts: a Japanese-owned