After pirates aboard the Zafirah tanker resisted the orders of the Vietnam Coast Guard (VCG) by cutting anchor to flee, law enforcement forces decided to return with a firm reply by opening fire.
The pirates sped up the tanker to escape Vietnamese waters after dropping anchor for two days. The ship was just 70km off Vung Tau, a beach resort of the southern Vietnamese province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau.
Colonel Le Xuan Thanh, head of the VCG of Zone 3 in charge of the East Vietnam Sea waters from the south-central province of Binh Dinh to Tra Vinh Province in the Mekong Delta, ordered a burst of AK rifle fire to warn the pirates.
Captain Le Hai Truong of VCG ship 4031 warned on a speaker, “Here is the announcement of the Vietnam Coast Guard. The nine crew members of Zafirah you threw into the water were safely rescued. You will be safe if you surrender, otherwise you will be killed.”