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Last Updated: Sunday, 6 August 2006, 04:40 GMT 05:40 UK
Trawler safe after pirate ordeal
Some crew members of the Dongwon-ho 628
Crew members will receive health checks before flying home
A South Korean fishing boat with 25 crew members seized by pirates off Somalia in April has arrived in Kenya.

The Dongwon-ho 628 was released after the alleged payment of a ransom of several hundred thousand dollars.

Wearing tattered clothes, the sailors were greeted with cheers from diplomats and journalists as they disembarked in the Kenyan port of Mombasa.

The men - from South Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam and China - are to be given health checks before being flown home.

'Compensation'

The trawler was fishing with two other South Korean boats in international waters when speedboats landed attackers on board.

"We were not tortured but there was a lot of tension as the rescue mission continued," Vietnamese sailor Nguyen Xuan Qua told Reuters news agency.

Dongwon-ho 628
The ship was released by the pirates after three months

"We did not know when we were going home. All our lives hung in the balance."

The Indonesian, Chinese and South Korean ambassadors to Kenya welcomed the crew in Mombasa, Reuters reports.

"We want to ensure that their rights are taken care of and that they will be compensated by the company they work for," the Chinese envoy said.

Hijackings and piracy have been frequent off the Somali coastline, with maritime gangs demanding ransoms for the safe release of crew.

The area became one of the most dangerous in the world for piracy after warlords ousted Somalia's former ruler in 1991 and divided the country among themselves.

However incidents of piracy are said to have lessened since the Islamic Courts Union militia imposed more control over the south of the country since June.


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