Somali pirates killed Chinese sailor-official

Thu Nov 15, 2007 4:26am EST

NAIROBI Nov 15 (Reuters) - Somali pirates killed a Chinese sailor aboard a Taiwanese fishing ship they released last week, an official said on Thursday.

The death was discovered after the Ching Fong Hwa No. 168 arrived in the Kenyan port of Mombasa on Wednesday, said Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme. It had been seized in May off Somalia.

"The pirates shot him because they were angry that the ship owner was not talking to them," Mwangura told Reuters.

There were fourteen other crew on board: 10 Chinese, two Taiwanese and two from the Philippines. Mwangura said they were traumatised by their ordeal, but uninjured.

"They are now thinking of going home. They are waiting for the ship's owner to provide them with air tickets," he said.

"This experience shows owners of hijacked vessels need to cooperate with the pirates, as the crew are at their mercy."

Somali pirates in one of the world's most dangerous shipping lanes are still thought to be holding hostage a cargo ship registered in Comoros and a Japanese-owned chemical tanker. (Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Daniel Wallis)