Somali pirates chop off arm of hijacked boat's captain: Vietnamese sailor

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Two Vietnamese sailors on a Taiwanese fishing boat hijacked by Somali pirates off the Indian Ocean two years ago have called home saying the pirates had chopped off an arm of the captain.

The pirates are demanding a US$2.8-million ransom.

On January 20, Tran Van Hung, one of the 26 crew members of the FV Shiuh Fu No. 1, called his family for help, his father Tran Van Vinh told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

Hung told Vinh Somali pirates have allowed the sailors to call home in five minutes each. The sailors were told it would be the last time they could telephone home.

The fishing boat has been badly damaged, Hung said, adding the pirates had brought the crew members ashore and detained them in demand for the ransom from the boat owner.

As the boat owner did not pay the ransom, the pirates chopped off an arm of the captain and frequently beat him and his deputy, Hung said.

As the ship is in a bad state, Hung said, it is likely that the Taiwanese company, which owns it, will not pay the ransom.

On January 20, Luu Dinh Hung, another Vietnamese sailor on the boat, called home, asking his family to call for help from Vietnamese authorities and three Vietnamese labor companies that sent them to work on the boat.

Hung said the crew members are in life-threatening condition.

On December 25, 2010, the FV Shiuh Fu No. 1 was captured by Somali pirates some 120 nautical miles off the northeast tip of Madagascar.

The boat's crew comprises 12 Vietnamese, 13 Chinese and a Taiwanese.

The 12 Vietnamese fishermen hail from the north-central province of Nghe An and Ha Tinh. They were sent to work on the boat by the state-owned International Manpower and Service Company (Inmasco), the Hanoi General Trading And Services Corporation (Servico) and the Van Xuan Limited Company.

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