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Chinese ship hijacked in Indian Ocean

  • Story Highlights
  • Bulk carrier De Xin Hai hijacked 550 nautical miles northeast of Seychelles
  • Ship dragging two skiffs commonly used by pirates operating off Somali coast
  • European Union Naval Task Force says two pirates visible, could be 20 on board
  • 146 people on board included 25 Chinese crew members
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(CNN) -- A Chinese ship with 146 people aboard was hijacked Monday in the Indian Ocean, the European Union Naval Force said.

The bulk carrier De Xin Hai was hijacked around noon about 550 nautical miles northeast of the Seychelles and 700 nautical miles off Somalia's eastern coast, the EU Naval Force said in a statement.

The EU force found the ship not long afterward. Two pirates could be seen on deck, but as many as 20 could be on board, a task force spokesman said.

The 146 people on board included 25 Chinese crew members, said John Harbour, a commander with the British Royal Navy who serves with the EU Naval Force.

The naval force was monitoring the ship's movements Monday afternoon.

The ship was dragging two skiffs behind it, much like the kind of skiffs that pirates have been known to use to hijack ships in the waters off Somalia.

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