Seventeen crew members of a freighter who were set adrift in a life raft by pirates in the Strait of Malacca were rescued off Thailand after 11 days at sea, Thai marine police said yesterday. The survivors, two Japanese and 15 Filipinos, were in good health and recovering at the Thai resort of Phuket, not far from where a fishing boat spotted them on Monday. Their 7,762-tonne, Panamanian-registered vessel, the Alondra Rainbow, was attacked by a band of 10 pirates on October 22, about two hours after it left Indonesia's Kuala Tanjung port at 9pm, bound for Japan. The English-speaking pirates, armed with pistols, knives and swords, launched their attack on the ship from two high-speed boats, the survivors said. Although no one was seriously injured, the Japanese captain, Ko Ikeno, 67, was beaten and threatened with death if he tried to get off a distress signal, said a Thai marine policeman, Colonel Miskawan Buala. Seven days after the attack, the pirates set the crew adrift and made off with the freighter, which is still missing. The pirates gave the crew food and water, but the supplies had run out by the time the fishing boat found them at 3pm on Monday in the Andaman Sea, about 60 nautical miles off Thailand's west coast. The victims, who also included chief engineer Kenzo Ogawa, 69, and 15 Filipino crew, were taken to Phuket, where, after medical treatment, they recounted the details of their ordeal to police and Japanese embassy officials. 'Captain Ikeno said the pirates spoke English, but with a Malaysian or Indonesian accent. But their English was very fluent,' said Colonel Miskawan. 'According to our information the ship's name has already been changed,' he said. The freighter, carrying 7,000 tonnes of aluminium, had originally been due to arrive at Miike, southwestern Japan, on October 31.