• Kyodo

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A Japanese-owned bulk carrier foiled a pirate attack in the Malacca Strait early Tuesday, becoming the third ship hit in the area in three days.

Noel Choong, head of the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy reporting center, said the 26,989-ton freighter was off Indonesia’s Aceh Province when a crew member spotted an unlit 10-meter speedboat approaching the vessel.

“The duty officer raised the alarm and all crew were mustered. They used high-pressure fire hoses and floodlights on the pirates’ boat to scare them off, but the pirates, believed to be armed with guns, still chased them for about five minutes before vanishing,” Choong told Kyodo News.

He said the incident occurred at around 4 a.m. No other details were immediately available.

On Sunday, two U.N. chartered ships came under attack in almost the same spot.

Both Indonesian-flagged ships were hired by the U.N. World Food Program to transport construction materials for reconstruction work in Aceh, which was hit by a tsunami in December 2004.

Choong said the first ship was attacked at around 9:45 p.m. Sunday and the second hit at around midnight.

The attacks follow a lull that had raised hopes coordinated patrols by Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore that began in July 2004 in and around the Malacca Strait were paying off.

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