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Filipinos help repel pirate attack

Manila, Philippines – Eight Filipino crew of a Taiwanese fishing vessel helped repel armed Somali pirates to retake their ship after it was hijacked off East Africa, reports said.

Taiwan authorities said Sunday that the 290-ton Chin Yi Wen with a crew of 28, nine Chinese, eight Filipinos, six Indonesians, and five Vietnamese, had been out of contact since Friday, the foreign ministry said.

But the crew managed to overwhelm the six armed pirates and retake control of their ship.

“In my memory, this is the first time sailors of a fishing vessel hijacked by Somali pirates have freed themselves on their own,“ Tsay Tzu-yaw, spokesman for Taiwan’s Fisheries Agency, said.

The Somali pirates fell into the sea, Tsay said, quoting the fishing boat owner, adding that details of the saga and the fate of the six pirates were not immediately clear.

Tsay said three sailors were slightly injured and the ship was heading for waters of the Seychelles.

Two decades of lawlessness have carved up Somalia into mini-fiefdoms ruled by gunmen and militia, encouraging rampant piracy.

At least 47 foreign vessels and more than 500 sailors are being held by pirates, according to Ecoterra International, which monitors maritime activity in the region.