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Pirate fighters have new close encounter

A CHINESE ship that fought off pirates in Somalia waters in December confronted another three suspicious boats yesterday morning at the mouth of the Red Sea near the Gulf of Aden.

The Zhenhua 4 of Shanghai-based Zhenhua Port Machinery Co encountered the three suspicious boats at about 5:15am local time on her return voyage from Egypt,, the Website of the Shanghai-based Jiefang Daily, reported today.

Smaller but faster than ordinary fishing boats, the three vessels were first seen about one nautical mile away, said captain Shen Guibo.

The crew then sounded the alarm and fired two flares at the boats.

Thirty crew members took up positions on the deck or in cabins and armed themselves with wooden bars, Molotov cocktails and stones for a possible fight.

But after five minutes the three vessels slowed, changed their direction and sailed off.

Zhenhua 4 had reportedly transported cranes and steel bridge structures to Egypt on the same route on which she once came under attack. With her middle deck lower than normal ships, she was considered an easy target by pirates.

On December 17, led by her ex-captain Peng Weiyuan, crew fought off nine pirates armed with rocket launchers and assault rifles with the help of foreign naval ships patrolling nearby.


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