Seven pirates held off Pengerang

JOHOR BARU: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) foiled an attempt by seven pirates to rob a cargo vessel 2.8 nautical miles off Pulau Mungging in Pengerang here yesterday. MMEA southern region enforcement chief First Admiral Zulkifli Abu Bakar said a team of enforcement officers was patrolling in two high-speed boats in the waters when they heard the emergency alarm from the Majuro Island-registered MT Front Queen at 3.15am.

The two speedboats immediately headed in the direction of the cargo vessel.

Zulkifli said the enforcement team spotted a wooden boat near the vessel and several men on board the boat were throwing plastic packages and two bamboo sticks into the sea.

"We believe they were throwing away evidence when they saw our patrol boats approaching them. We rounded them up immediately."

Zulkifli said initial investigations showed that one of the pirates armed with a parang managed to get into the vessel earlier and chased after a crew member to prevent him from alerting anyone else.

However, the crew member managed to escape from the pirate and alerted the officer-in-charge, who then sounded the alarm.

Zulkifli said the enforcement team seized from the pirates a bayonet, an axe and several spanners which were believed to be tools used by the pirates during robberies.