Sunday, April 26, 2009

Armed guards help repel attack on Italian cruise ship

Word is that the Italian liner MSC Melody, with about 1500 passengers and crew aboard, was attacked by pirates earlier today while sailing in the Indian Ocean off east Africa. The vessel's captain told the BBC that liner was sailing about 180 miles north of the Seychelles when a skiff approached with six pirates aboard. They fired, in his words, some 200 rounds at the ship in an attempt to stop her. The Telegraph reports that Israeli security guards hired by the liner's owners apparently opened fire on the pirates and helped repulse the attack. The Melody was on a cruise from Durban, South Africa, to Genoa, Italy, at the time of the attack. No one aboard was reportedly hurt in the incident, and the liner is en route to Aqaba, in Jordan, escorted by a Spanish warship.

Meanwhile, a German merchant ship was seized by another group of pirates and, in a third incident, a Yemeni oil tanker was also captured, though two of the attackers were reportedly killed as Yemeni Coast Guard personnel fought with them.

The discussions about putting armed guards aboard vessels has just gotten more serious.

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