Pirates from Somalia who hijacked a Chinese bulk carrier in the Indian Ocean threatened on Oct. 20 to execute its 25 Chinese crew members if any rescue operation was attempted. The De Xin Hai was carrying about 76,000 tons of coal from South Africa to India when it was seized by gunmen some 700 nautical miles east of Somalia. "We tell China not to endanger the lives of their people with any rescue operation," Hassan, an associate of the gang, told Reuters by phone from the pirate stronghold Haradheere. Indian coal traders feared that this first reported hijacking of a coal vessel by Somali pirates could mean the gunmen would start targeting others, as these dry bulk vessels are smaller and have a relatively small crew. (Reuters)

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