Burmese sailors set adrift in lifeboat

Marine rescuers in southern Vietnam on Thursday rescued five Burmese and four Indonesian sailors who had been attacked four days earlier by Indonesian pirates and left to drift at sea in a lifeboat, according to a report by Vietnamese daily Thanh Nien News.

The report said that the sailors, including Burmese captain Sann Winnaung, had left from the Malaysian port Pasir Gudang on November 16 on the Malaysian oil tanker Zafirah and that she was attacked by pirates in Indonesian waters early on November 18.

Their boat was hijacked and the 11 crew members were thrown into a lifeboat and left to drift.

Two fishing boats from Vung Tau in southern Vietnam 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, Thanh Nien reported.

After the pirates refused to surrender, Vung Tau police launched an attack and arrested 11 pirates, all Indonesians, seizing their weapons including knives and guns.

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, the Ho Chi Minh-based daily said.

It was reported that all crew members have received health checks and local authorities are taking necessary steps for their return home.

Source: Mizzima.

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