A cargo ship with 32 Chinese crew aboard evaded an attack by four pirate boats in the piracy-plagued Gulf of Aden, China's state media reported on Tuesday.
The attack took place Monday as the Sierra Leone-registered vessel was heading to Djibouti in northeast Africa, Xinhua news agency said, quoting the China Maritime Search and Rescue Centre.
The report did not say how the crew managed to evade the pirates or provide any other details.
The incident occurred as three Chinese naval ships were due to arrive in the area to help thwart attacks by pirates from lawless Somalia.
About 100 ships, including several Chinese vessels, have been attacked by Somali pirates since the beginning of last year.
China warned Somali pirates last month it was prepared to use force to combat rampant piracy that has disrupted international shipping routes heading to and from the Suez Canal.
Two Chinese destroyers and a supply ship set sail last week -- the first time in recent history that China has deployed ships on a potential combat mission well beyond its territorial waters.
Chinese state media said the ships could arrive in the area as early as Tuesday.