- Pirates near Somalia have failed to hijack the US cruise liner with more than 1,000 people on board, maritime officials said today.
Head of the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting center in Kuala Lumpur Noel Choong said a cruise ship reported to have been carrying 690 American, British and Australian passengers and a 386-member crew was on its cruise way when two small fishing boats tried to intercept it in the Gulf of Aden.
"Pirates chased and shot at a US cruise liner, but the larger boat was faster than the pirates' vessels," Mr Choong said.
According to officials, the ship's captain, Jurica Brajcic, began evasive maneuvers when the pirates were about 1,000 yards away from the ship and managed to avert the attack.
Reports said one of the boats managed to close the range to approximately 300 yards and fired eight rifle shots in the direction of the vessel before fleeing the scene.
The ship's owner, Oceania Cruises said in the website, said the ship, Nautica was immediately brought to flank speed and was able to outrun the two small vessels.
Oceania Cruises said the Nautica was on a 32-day cruise from Rome to Singapore, with stops at ports in Italy, Egypt, Oman, Dubai, India, Malaysia and Thailand. Based on that schedule, the liner was headed from Egypt to Oman when it was attacked.
Somali officials said there have been a spade on hijackings in Somali waters with more than 100 attacked of which 14 out still remain in the hands of the pirates.
Increased pirates attacks on one of the world's most busy routes has called for daily patrols from international marines to foil attacks in the lawless Somalia. The presence of foreign navies is intended to restore confidence among shipping companies, many of which are now re-routing to sail around the Cape of Good Hope on the southern tip of Africa.
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