Armed men on board two 25ft inflatable boats fired live bullets and rocket-propelled grenades as they tried to climb aboard the liner. Terrified passengers reported a series of explosions as the pirates fired on the luxurious 10,000-tonne cruise liner.Their reported position was 100 miles off the coast of Somaila. This seems pretty far for two 25ft inflatible boats, but incidents up to 120 nautical miles off the Somaili coast have been reported.
ALERTPirate attacks in 2004 were more violent than in recent years. The total number of attacks was down year-over-year, but that was due in part to the tsunami in Indonesia.
Somalia - NE and Eastern Coast
Twenty five incidents have been reported since 15.03.05. Heavily armed pirates are now attacking ships further away from the coast. A recent incident took place 120 nm off the eastern coast. Ships are advised to keep as far away as possible from the Somali coast. [from the 25-31 October, 2005 Weekly Piracy report of the International Chamber of Commerce Commercial Crime Services Division]
Indonesian waters continue to be the scene of the highest number of attacks, with 93 incidents reported in 2004. While this is down from 121 in 2003, it still accounts for more than one quarter of piratical attacks reported worldwide.The Seabourn Spirit is carrying 151 passengers and 161 crew. That's no typo.
Edith Laird of Seattle, who was traveling on the ship with her daughter and a friend, told British Broadcasting Corp. TV in an e-mail that "at least three rocket-propelled grenades . . . hit the ship."The company says "robbery" was the goal, but kidnaping and ransom are often part of pirate attaks off Somalia.
It doesn't sound like the crew of this ship were armed. This is going to need to change as pirates get bolder, and piracy spreads to more corners of the world.
Update: ABC News reports that the Pirates May Have Also Attacked U.N. Ship
The pirates who attacked a luxury cruise liner off Somalia's coast were likely to have been from the same group that hijacked a U.N.-chartered vessel in June and held its crew and food aid hostage for 100 days, a maritime official said Sunday.Somalia has had no government since 1991 when opposition leaders deposed a dictator and then turned on each other.