Vietnam saves sailors from Myanmar, Indonesia after pirate attack

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A Ba Ria-Vung Tau marine security official (right) with Sann Winnaung, Myanmar captain of Zafirah and his crew members who were saved after being attacked by pirates

Marine rescuers from the southern beach town of Vung Tau on Thursday rescued five Myanmarese and four Indonesian sailors, arresting the 11 pirates who attacked them.

The Malaysian oil tanker Zafirah left from the Malaysian port Pasir Gudang port for another Miri on November 16 but was attacked by pirates in Indonesian waters early November 18.

Their boat was hijacked and they were thrown into the lifeboat and left to drift.

Two fishing boats from Vung Tau spotted them and informed local marine rescuers, who sent a vessel to retrieve the victims as marine police went out to search for the pirates.

The police spotted the Zafirah pirate ship sailing in Vietnamese waters. After the pirates refused to surrender, Vung Tau police launched an attack and arrested 11 pirates, all Indonesians, seizing their weapons including knives and short guns.

The Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province border guard unit has taken the pirates into custody for further investigations, and towed their Malaysian boat to shore.

Sann Winnaung, the 37-year-old Burmese captain of the hijacked boat, said he and other crew members had been locked inside their cabin with little food before being forced into the lifeboat.

All crew members have received health checks and local authorities are taking necessary steps for their return home.

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