China today announced that it is preparing to send its own ships to protect the safe passage of cargo as it passes through the pirate-hit Gulf of Aden.
"China is actively considering sending warships to participate in convoy actions in the Somali sea and Gulf of Aden," China's foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told reporters.
This year has seen a dramatic increase in pirate attacks off the coast of war-torn Somalia. Citing data from the Kenya-based East Africa Seafarers Assistance Program, Liu said 300 ships were attacked by pirates last year in that area. More than 40 ships were hijacked in the first 11 months of this year.
These photographs show the moment Somali pirates tried to take over a Chinese cargo ship off the East African coast, Wednesday. Nine heavily armed men stormed on board the Zhenhua 4 in an attempted hijacking.