Data loading...

Hijacked Taiwan Longliner On Course From Seychelles To Somalia

All crew members aboard a Taiwanese fishing vessel hijacked by Somali pirates off the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean last week are alive and safe, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokesman Henry Chen said.

Concerns for the safety of the 30 crew members aboard the Win Far 161 long-line fishing boat were raised after foreign wire services reported that Somali pirates have threatened to kill American hostages on another hijacked vessel if U.S. warships attack them off the Horn of Africa.

“According to information secured by the ministry, all the Win Fa crew members are safe,” Chen told the Central News Agency in an interview.

Chen elaborated that the ministry has closely tracked the 700-ton deep-sea fishing vessel's course since it fell under the control of Somali pirates Monday.

He said the ship was currently located north-northwest of the Seychelles and is heading in a northwesterly direction toward the Somali coastline.

The Win Far crew includes two Taiwanese - skipper and the first engineer - as well as five Chinese, six Indonesians and 17 Filipinos.

Chen said the ministry has been in close contact with the shipowner, who has been quoted as wishing to maintain a low-profile so that he could be better positioned to negotiate with hijackers when they make a ransom demand.

“The ministry fully respects the shipowner’s wish,” Chen reaffirmed.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Taiwan Tuna Association said yesterday that the association and the shipowner have been making every possible effort to rescue the Win Far crew, including seeking assistance from U.S. and British naval authorities and relevant international fishery organizations.