US cruise line confirms pirate attack off Somalia
AFP - 37 minutes ago
MIAMI, (AFP) - - Miami-based Oceania Cruises confirmed a failed pirate attack on its ocean liner Nautica in the Gulf of Aden over the weekend, saying the ship was fired upon but managed to outrun its assailants.
Two skiffs "deemed potentially hostile" attempted to intercept the cruise ship's course from a range of about 1,000 yards (meters), but the captain took evasive maneuvers, the company said Monday in a website statement.
"Nautica was immediately brought to flank speed and was able to out run 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.
"No one aboard Nautica was harmed and no damage was sustained," the company said.
The comments seem at odds with an earlier statement from the Danish navy that international coalition warships on Sunday had stopped Somali pirates from hijacking a luxury cruise ship in the Gulf of Aden, which Danish media identified as the Nautica.
The Danish navy, which since September commands the multinational naval Task Force 150 charged with combating piracy and weapons smuggling in the northern part of the Indian Ocean, refused to identify the vessel.
Danish TV2 News, however, said six to eight armed pirates on two speed boats were observed speeding toward the Nautica, a cruise liner that had departed from Florida and was carrying 400 passengers and 200 crew.
A French navy warship, alerted by the Danish Navy, scrambled a helicopter to the scene, which sent the pirates fleeing, TV2 News said.
Despite the presence of foreign navies in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, hijackers have and seized ships including a Saudi super-tanker and a Ukrainian vessel carrying tanks and other weapons.
Hundreds of sailors captured in numerous piracy attacks are held hostage on the Somali coast.
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Picture taken aboard the French frigate Nivose, off the coast of Djibouti, of a map of the Gulf of Aden marked with red crosses to show the location of hijacked ships. Miami-based Oceania Cruises confirmed a failed pirate attack on its ocean liner Nautica in the Gulf of Aden over the weekend, saying the ship was fired upon but managed to outrun its assailants.
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