Monday, December 01, 2008

Somali Pirates Attack Cruise Ship

Two pirate boats opened fire on the six-star Nautica as she sailed between Somalia and Yemen on Sunday. The cruise ship, which carries 690 passengers and 386 crew, was sailing past several groups of fishing boats when two small skiffs tried to intercept it. Captain Jurica Brajcic began evasive manoeuvres when the pirates were about 1,000 yards away from the ship and managed to avert the attack. While cargo ships and small pleasure boats have been attacked by Somalian pirates, this is only the second time they have attempted to hijack a cruise ship. Three years ago, rocket-propelled grenades were fired at the Seabourn Spirit. Two of the ship's officers were injured when it exploded. A spokesman for Oceania Cruises said: "Nautica was immediately brought to flank speed and was able to outrun the two skiffs.
"One of the skiffs did manage to close the range to approximately 300 yards and fired eight rifle shots in the direction of the vessel before trailing off." Fortunately, no one aboard the ship was harmed and no damage was sustained. The ship's main defence against attack, a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), was readied during the attack. It emits a high-powered beam of sound, which at close range, can shatter a person's eardrums. The six-star ship was carrying American, British and Australian passengers on a 32-day cruise from Rome to Singapore. British passengers have paid more than £15,000 for the cruise. The ship's last call was in Sagafa, Egypt. She is due to arrive at Salalah, Oman, on Monday.

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