Saturday, November 5, 2005

Pirates open fire on cruise ship off Somalia coast

Pirates attacked a cruise ship carrying 150 passengers, mostly Americans with some Australians and Europeans 100 miles off the coast of Somalia. The Washington Post reported:

Pirates armed with grenade launchers and machine guns tried to hijack a luxury cruise liner off the east African coast Saturday, but the ship outran them, officials said.

Two boats full of pirates approached the Seabourn Spirit about 100 miles off the Somali coast and opened fire while the heavily armed bandits tried to get onboard, said Bruce Good, spokesman for the Miami-based Seabourn Cruise Line, a subsidiary of Carnival Corp.

The ship escaped by shifting to high speed and changing course.

"These are very well-organized pirates," said Andrew Mwangura, head of the Kenyan chapter of the Seafarers Assistance Program. "Somalia's coastline is the most dangerous place in the region in terms of maritime security."

The attackers never got close enough to board the Spirit, but one member of the 161-person crew was injured by shrapnel, cruise line president Deborah Natansohn said.

Cruise Ship Escapes Pirate Hijack Attempt [Washington Post, Nov. 5, 2005]
Cruise liner outruns armed pirate boats [CNN, Nov. 5, 2005]
Machine guns not machetes for modern-day raiders [scotsman, Nov. 5, 2005]

related:
Terrorism Goes to Sea [TJN, Nov. 22, 2004]
Nigerian Pirates: Most Deadly [TJN, July 27, 2004]
Pirates Stalking the Malacca Strait [TJN, June 28, 2004]
Piracy on the High Seas [TJN, June 11, 2004]

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