Anti-piracy force thwarts attack on Chinese ship

SAN'A, Yemen (AP) -- Attack helicopters have sent a group of pirates packing after they tried to take over a Chinese cargo ship off the Somali coast.

The helicopters from an international anti-piracy force fired on the bandits and forced them to abandon the ship they had boarded.

In another blow to the region's thriving piracy activity, the Indian navy handed over 23 pirates it caught at sea to authorities in Yemen.

In today's assault, nine armed pirates overtook the Chinese ship with speedboats.

The International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting center in Malaysia says the crew sent a distress message and barricaded themselves inside their living quarters. An international naval force dispatched the helicopters and a warship. No injuries were reported.

Somali pirates, spurred by widespread poverty, have hijacked more than 40 vessels this year.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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