12 Vietnamese onboard as Taiwanese boat is hijacked

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Twelve Vietnamese crew members on a Taiwanese fishing boat were taken hostage by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean last month, an official said on Wednesday (January 5).

According to Dao Cong Hai, deputy director of the Department of the Overseas Labor Management, the Vietnamese crew, aged 19 to 24, worked on the Shiuh Fu-1 boat via state-owned

International Manpower and Service Company, Hanoi Investment Trading & Services General JSC (Servico), and Van Xuan Company.

Ten of the Vietnamese crew hail from the north-central province of Nghe An, while the other two are from neighboring Ha Tinh Province.

The boat, with 26 crew members, was hijacked December 25 some 120 nautical miles off the north-east tip of the island of Madagascar, the EU's Operation Atlanta said in a statement.

Hai said pirates have asked for ransom, and everything depends on the negotiation between the pirates and the boat's management company.

The department, which is under the Ministry of Labors, War Invalids and Social Affairs, has proposed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs order related agencies to work with the management company and the boat's owner to guarantee the laborers' safety.

It also asked the labor suppliers to inform the hostages' families about the hijack, who were still unaware of it as of Wednesday.

In the meantime, Nguyen Manh Tuong, director of Servico, said their foreign partners had not given them any more information, except for the crew members' names.

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