Oceania Cruises’ Nautica fights off pirate attack

by Anita Dunham-Potter on November 30, 2008

Seatrade Insider is reporting that Oceania Cruises’ vessel Nautica averted a pirate attack while in transit of the Gulf of Aden this morning.

According to the publication, two skiffs approached the ship whereby the crew proceeded with evasive measures. According to Oceania president, Bob Binder, eight shots were fired on Nautica by the pirates. No one was injured and the vessel sustained no damage.

Binder stated that Nautica was sailing within the prescribed Maritime Safety Protection Area which is patrolled by international anti-piracy task forces. “The closest the pirates ever got to the vessel was 300 meters,” said Binder. Binder also stated that Nautica is continuing to its next port of call, Salalah, Oman, and is due to arrive on schedule Monday.

This latest pirate attack is not the first on a cruise ship. Last April, pirates off the coast of Somalia seized control of French sail-cruiser Le Ponant, which was deadheading from the Seychelles to the Mediterranean. The 22 crew members were eventually released unharmed. In 2005, Seabourn Spirit sustained shots from pirates wielding rocket launchers in two small vessels off the Somalia coast. The ship undertook evasive action, and there were no injuries.

The cruise ship’s main defense 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.

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