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» Cruise Talk   » Cruise Ships   » Seabourn Spirit attacked by Pirates off Somalia (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Seabourn Spirit attacked by Pirates off Somalia
PamM
First Class Passenger
Member # 2127

posted 11-05-2005 05:35 AM      Profile for PamM   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
From This is London:-

"UK passengers attacked by pirates
5 November 2005

A luxury cruise liner carrying British passengers has been attacked by pirates firing a rocket propelled grenade and machine guns.

The Bahamas-registered Seabourn Spirit was 100 miles off the coast of Somalia in Africa when the attack took place.Terrified passengers were woken by the sound of gunfire as two 25 foot rigid inflatable boats came up to the liner and started shooting as their occupants tried to get on aboard.

The ship was carrying 302 passengers and crew, but there was only one casualty - a crew member suffered minor injuries from flying debris.

It is not believed that the bazooka fire struck the ship, but it was hit by small arms fire. The vessel escaped with only minor damage.

The crew used an on-board loud acoustic bang to repel the attackers who finally sped off without managing to board the liner. They did not return fire at the pirates.

The drama happened in an area notorious for pirate activity, leading to warnings to stay away from the coast where bandits board ships and demand ransoms.

David Dingle, a spokesman for the Miami-based company Seabourn Cruises, owned by US cruise giant Carnival, said Britons were aboard but he could not confirm the number.

He said the ship was en route to Mombasa in Kenya on a 16-day cruise out of Alexandria in Egypt.

The 10,000-ton liner offers the height of luxury, with huge suites, marble bathrooms and more than one crew member to each passenger on board. Most of the passengers are believed to be American."

Which is what all the other reports say except CNN, who elaborate by speaking to a passenger 'Rogers' who stated "I believe one of the grenades actually went off in one of the cabins, but everyone on board is fine.".. Hmmmmmm, He would 'know' if it had, not 'think'..

This does not bode well for cruise ships in the area

Pam


Posts: 12013 | From: Cambridge, UK | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Deck 9 001
First Class Passenger
Member # 1716

posted 11-05-2005 05:51 AM      Profile for Deck 9 001     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Pam, this is a frightening report indeed. Luckily there were no major injuries and the pirates were scared off.

This is one more event that should persuade the governments of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore to step up security in the Straits of Malacca. Too many lives are at stake here to be lax.

Regards,

Mike

[ 11-05-2005: Message edited by: Deck 9 001 ]


Posts: 939 | From: Taipei, Taiwan (originally New York) | Registered: Dec 2000  |  IP: Logged
Lux
First Class Passenger
Member # 5990

posted 11-05-2005 07:02 AM      Profile for Lux     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Wow.

Pam, truly shocking report. A HUNDRED miles off the coast !!

Interesting, the article said the liner did not return fire. This seems to suggest that guns are carried.
Do cruise ships carry weapons I wonder ?

Lux


Posts: 65 | From: UK | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
Tom Burke
First Class Passenger
Member # 5238

posted 11-05-2005 07:32 AM      Profile for Tom Burke   Author's Homepage   Email Tom Burke   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
In the 18th and 19th centuries, merchant ships of the (British) East India company carried cannon, of course.
Posts: 1469 | From: Sheffield, UK | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
bulbousbow
First Class Passenger
Member # 4440

posted 11-05-2005 07:39 AM      Profile for bulbousbow   Author's Homepage   Email bulbousbow   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
PamM wrote:
This does not bode well for cruise ships in the area.

The Somalis especially of late have been very active, and at 100 miles off the coast and at night this was a daring attempt. I am sure they were after not just money and valuables but also wealthy passengers to kidnap for ransoms. I think the best solution for now would be navy escorts. Expensive but effective.

******

Cheers


Posts: 6866 | From: Adelaide, Australia | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
bulbousbow
First Class Passenger
Member # 4440

posted 11-05-2005 07:40 AM      Profile for bulbousbow   Author's Homepage   Email bulbousbow   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Deck 9 001 wrote:
This is one more event that should persuade the governments of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore to step up security in the Straits of Malacca. Too many lives are at stake here to be lax.

So far the ‘pirates’ in the Straits of Malacca haven’t tried attacking cruise ships...but I do agree the three governments need to work harder, especially the Indonesians who seem to be slack on many things.

******

Cheers


Posts: 6866 | From: Adelaide, Australia | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
PamM
First Class Passenger
Member # 2127

posted 11-05-2005 07:57 AM      Profile for PamM   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I am wondering if the Somalis had any idea of what the vessel actually was before attacking? there are too many people aboard cruiseships for 2 small craft to take over easily, unless firearms/grenades are used [which they had], but they then run the risk of sinking the vessel instead, and probably themelves along with it. 100 miles is a long way off shore.

I expect there is a gun under lock and key aboard? I thought water cannons were one of the best deterrants against pirates, not heard of the 'acoustic bang' way before.

Pam


Posts: 12013 | From: Cambridge, UK | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
bulbousbow
First Class Passenger
Member # 4440

posted 11-05-2005 08:38 AM      Profile for bulbousbow   Author's Homepage   Email bulbousbow   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
PamM wrote:
I am wondering if the Somalis had any idea of what the vessel actually was before attacking?...

Either they didn’t know and guessed while they were sweeping the shipping lanes or they have schedules and are equipped with gear (probably stolen) to monitor shipping movements.

quote:
...there are too many people aboard cruiseships for 2 small craft to take over easily, unless firearms/grenades are used [which they had], but they then run the risk of sinking the vessel instead, and probably themelves along with it. 100 miles is a long way off shore.

The pirates would attack the ship while the guests would be asleep and only when a few of the crew would be on watch. They would also try to board the ship without having to fire. The firearms would obviously be used to injure and kill (if necessary), but the grenades and other explosive devices would be used to incapacitate the ship rather than to sink it, unless they are terrorists or they are stupid.

******

Cheers


Posts: 6866 | From: Adelaide, Australia | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
Malcolm @ cruisepage
Cruise Director
Member # 301

posted 11-05-2005 11:09 AM      Profile for Malcolm @ cruisepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I was wonding what an 'Acoustic Bang' was? Maye this web site helps:

See Here


Posts: 18994 | From: Essex (Just Outside London) | Registered: A Long Time Ago!  |  IP: Logged
Cambodge
First Class Passenger
Member # 906

posted 11-05-2005 12:19 PM      Profile for Cambodge   Email Cambodge   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
All of the MM ships had "arms lockers" in a secure storeroom in the area immediately aft of the bridge. I was confident that the crew, who were all French and had sailed together for years, would be capable of "repelling boarders." After all, their regular sailings took them through the Straits of Malacca and the Rung Sat. I should imagine that high-pressure fire hoses would be one of the tools also available to the crew.

And Pam, remember that a relatively small bunch of terrorists managed to take over a relatively large ship once, the "Achile Lauro."

To address another point, "Stun Grenades" have been in the arsenal of law enforcement and the military for years. I doubt if the more sophisticated systems cited would have been necessary.


Posts: 2149 | From: St. Michaels MD USA , the town that fooled the British! | Registered: Nov 1999  |  IP: Logged
jsea
First Class Passenger
Member # 3816

posted 11-05-2005 01:47 PM      Profile for jsea     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Wow, that'll be a cruise to remember.

And, as others have said, cruise ships definitely carry arms. They have impressive security details (frequently comprised of Nepalese) which are prepared for many seagoing emergencies/criminal acts.


Posts: 641 | From: Texas | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Tom Burke
First Class Passenger
Member # 5238

posted 11-05-2005 02:27 PM      Profile for Tom Burke   Author's Homepage   Email Tom Burke   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
And, as others have said, cruise ships definitely carry arms. They have impressive security details (frequently comprised of Nepalese)....

Wow, a Special Boat Squadron version of the Gurkhas!

(I've only just learned that there's a Gurkha Detachment in the Singaporean police.)


Posts: 1469 | From: Sheffield, UK | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
PamM
First Class Passenger
Member # 2127

posted 11-05-2005 02:39 PM      Profile for PamM   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
At least the crew were obviously prepared with everything to the ready, whatever it may have been that was used; there's a lot of different 'launching' means on that site Malcolm, although interesing.. it was a 'flash bang & stun' of some sort so could have even been your stun grenade Cambodge. Don't suppose we'll find out. It seems from the BBC report that an RPG did end up in one of the suites through the window but no damage.

On Achille Lauro the guys were already aboard, with their weapons, and were prompted into early unplanned for action with their discovery by a crew member, or so I understood anyway? They didn't have to try and surprise, board from sea level and take over at the same time. In 1985 perhaps they still may have managed that, but I would hope not. Ship's crew are far more wary and astute these days. On QE2 they have extra lookouts on deck and man the water guns when passing through the South China Seas, maybe they have acoustic bangs too.

On freighters/tankers etc, there may only be a dozen or less crew aboard; 24 eyes as against a few hundred on cruiseships.

Pam


Posts: 12013 | From: Cambridge, UK | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
jsea
First Class Passenger
Member # 3816

posted 11-05-2005 02:51 PM      Profile for jsea     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I just saw a brief mention of this on FOX, replete with photo of one of the supposed boats full of pirates used in the attack.

Unfortunately, the photo is not included in the online version of the story:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,174677,00.html


Posts: 641 | From: Texas | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
lasuvidaboy
First Class Passenger
Member # 4527

posted 11-05-2005 03:44 PM      Profile for lasuvidaboy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I remember seeing a photo of Fred. Olsen's 'Black Watch' w/cage like screens on the lowest open deck. It was the covered deck at the stern where the crew handles the lines etc. I recall reading that the fence was installed to prevent people from boarding the ship while at sea. I wonder how difficult it would be to board a cruise ship traveling at over 20 knots w/the hull doors closed? I guess desperate people will try anything.
Posts: 7654 | From: Hollywood Hills/L.A. | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Cambodge
First Class Passenger
Member # 906

posted 11-05-2005 04:16 PM      Profile for Cambodge   Email Cambodge   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I have just watched a most-uninformative coverage of this incident on Fox News. For the benefit of those outside the USA, Fox is a loud, right-wing, pretty-much "garbage" channel, sort of like the lower class Brit tabloids. But occasionally they are worth viewing.

This I just saw on Fox at 1600 EST:
Beneath a slide of the ship, the title "Pirates attack ship packed with Americans"

Hmmmm.... I heard most of the pax were Bits.
Then, from the breathy female anchor:

"and I suppose most of the passengers were rich, with gambling money and jewels...all of those black tie dinners and such"

Party on other end,(I did not get an ID)
"We have no idea what their objectives are"

Female anchor:
" ..and you mean to say that they are just going on with their cruise, in spite of this?"

Response: "Certainly...."

Dialogue continued with CruiseLine respondent countering the dumbest and most uninformed questions I could imagine.

But, I must observe, CNN was not much better. Both seemed to be "astounded" that the cruise would continue.

What alternatives were considered will be left as an exercise for the reader.

I am thinking of the old H.L. Menken quote. "No one ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the American People"


Posts: 2149 | From: St. Michaels MD USA , the town that fooled the British! | Registered: Nov 1999  |  IP: Logged
Frosty 4
First Class Passenger
Member # 5826

posted 11-05-2005 04:28 PM      Profile for Frosty 4   Email Frosty 4   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Maybe "Sea Marshals" similar to Air Marshals should be on board. I'm almost sure that since 9/11 the security personnel has plans to combat these events. The ships radar probably gave them some warning as to approaching vessels. A few RPGs on board would have probably sunk these rubber craft. And would you stop to pick up survivors?? I wouldn't think so!! Do cruise ships have Brigs???
F4

Posts: 2460 | From: Illinois | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
lasuvidaboy
First Class Passenger
Member # 4527

posted 11-05-2005 04:38 PM      Profile for lasuvidaboy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Cambodge:
I have just watched a most-uninformative coverage of this incident on Fox News. For the benefit of those outside the USA, Fox is a loud, right-wing, pretty-much "garbage" channel, sort of like the lower class Brit tabloids. But occasionally they are worth viewing.

This I just saw on Fox at 1600 EST:
Beneath a slide of the ship, the title "Pirates attack ship packed with Americans"

Hmmmm.... I heard most of the pax were Bits.
Then, from the breathy female anchor:

"and I suppose most of the passengers were rich, with gambling money and jewels...all of those black tie dinners and such"

Party on other end,(I did not get an ID)
"We have no idea what their objectives are"

Female anchor:
" ..and you mean to say that they are just going on with their cruise, in spite of this?"

Response: "Certainly...."

Dialogue continued with CruiseLine respondent countering the dumbest and most uninformed questions I could imagine.

But, I must observe, CNN was not much better. Both seemed to be "astounded" that the cruise would continue.

What alternatives were considered will be left as an exercise for the reader.

I am thinking of the old H.L. Menken quote. "No one ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the American People"


Hmmm.. What do you really think of Fox New Channel??


Posts: 7654 | From: Hollywood Hills/L.A. | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Malcolm @ cruisepage
Cruise Director
Member # 301

posted 11-05-2005 04:51 PM      Profile for Malcolm @ cruisepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The BBC News Web site has some good on-line coverage and some audio/video Interviews:

See Here


Posts: 18994 | From: Essex (Just Outside London) | Registered: A Long Time Ago!  |  IP: Logged
PeterUK
First Class Passenger
Member # 1898

posted 11-05-2005 05:40 PM      Profile for PeterUK   Email PeterUK   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Its interesting to read the various reports of this incident.

I have sailed on this ship on this positioning voyage on two occasions and it is usually a delightful cruise with a lot of sea days good and calm weather.

The call for passengers at Djibouti was stopped some years ago but it was planned to call for bunkers only so she may well have been tailed from there. One report suggested that the raiders may have come from a cargo ship which was seen nearby.

Usually the Spirit has a senior safety officer on board and has it the past had two gurkhas on this voyage as well. She also now has barred rails which hinge down on the lower working deck at the stern to make it more difficult to atempt to board her.

Slightly surprising that the ship could outrun two inflatables as her top speed is little more than 17.5 knots and I guess she would have been doing over 14 knots for the run to Mombasa anyway.

She now appears to be arriving in the Seychelles on Monday which is 4 days earlier than she would have arrived if she had gone to Mombasa first which was an embarkation port.

I suspect the outcome of this may well be she will not carry passengers through the Red Sea again and proceed on this sector without passenger as she has done before when there were troubles in the area.

I would expect that Americans and Britains on board would be equal in number on this sector as Americans tend to stay clear of this area and don't like on the whole a large number of days at sea.

A good job she scheduled for dry docking when she arrives in Singapore.


Posts: 217 | From: North of England | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
bulbousbow
First Class Passenger
Member # 4440

posted 11-05-2005 06:00 PM      Profile for bulbousbow   Author's Homepage   Email bulbousbow   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Frosty 4 wrote:
Maybe "Sea Marshals" similar to Air Marshals should be on board. I'm almost sure that since 9/11 the security personnel has plans to combat these events.

The “Sea Marshals” would have to be on watch 24hours a day or at least on their job at night from sundown to sunrise. They would also have to be armed or have access to firearms or other weapons.

quote:
The ships radar probably gave them some warning as to approaching vessels.

Yes, they would have been picked up on radar, but unless the radar is manned or checked regularly while the ship is in open sea on less frequented shipping lanes it would make little difference. I also wonder whether any of these rigid inflatable boats are built so they aren’t visible on radar.

quote:
A few RPGs on board would have probably sunk these rubber craft.

I doubt very much that cruise ships now will have to carry such arms.

quote:
And would you stop to pick up survivors?? I wouldn't think so!! Do cruise ships have Brigs???

Cruise ships do have something you’d call a brig, and yes, they would be picked up. They’d be handed over to the authorities at the first port of call. Then they’d be interrogated or, if you prefer, tortured. They could also be executed and shown publicly on TV for the others to get a clear message.

******

Cheers

[ 11-05-2005: Message edited by: bulbousbow ]


Posts: 6866 | From: Adelaide, Australia | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
bulbousbow
First Class Passenger
Member # 4440

posted 11-05-2005 06:11 PM      Profile for bulbousbow   Author's Homepage   Email bulbousbow   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
PeterUK wrote:
...One report suggested that the raiders may have come from a cargo ship which was seen nearby...Usually the Spirit has a senior safety officer on board and has it the past had two gurkhas on this voyage as well...

Probably one of the several ships the Somali pirates hijacked these year. If they had the Gurkhas on board SPIRIT was obviously prepared, and I think they would have knowing the history of this place lately.

******

Cheers


Posts: 6866 | From: Adelaide, Australia | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
seabourndt
First Class Passenger
Member # 2154

posted 11-05-2005 06:13 PM      Profile for seabourndt   Email seabourndt   Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quite shocking reasding this a week before my cruise from athens through the redc sea to australia on the FUNCHAL hope there won't be any changes but i guess you don't know yet.
dave

Posts: 224 | From: london | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
jsea
First Class Passenger
Member # 3816

posted 11-05-2005 07:00 PM      Profile for jsea     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Cambodge:
Hmmmm.... I heard most of the pax were Bits.
Well, according to the BBC story that Malcom posted, they were mostly Americans:

The Bahamian-registered ship was carrying 302 passengers and crew, most of them are believed to be Americans as well as some Britons.

Here's the image of some of the pirates from FOX:

And if you go to www.foxnews.com, and then click on 'FREE VIDEO' (on the right), in the window that opens click on 'Pirates Strike' which is about a three-minute video and has a few more details on passenger numbers (Americans in the 40s, Brits in the 20s, if I recall correctly) and some passenger comments. Sorry, there's no way (that I can find) to directly link to the video.

And here's a story from CNN (there's also a video from CNN but you must go to their homepage to find it -- sorry, no direct link again):
http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/africa/11/05/somalia.pirates/index.html

Some interesting excerpts:
Passenger Mike Rogers of Vancouver, Canada, said the pirates were shooting and sending rockets at the boat.

"The captain tried to run one of the boats over, but they were small boats, about 25 feet long," he told CNNRadio affiliate CKNW in Vancouver.

"Each one had four or five people on it, and (the captain) said he was going to do anything to keep them from getting on board."

The captain, however, did not hit the alarm button to alert passengers of the emergency, Rogers said.

"He announced it over the speakers, because he was scared people would run up on deck, and he didn't want people on deck because they would have been shot."

The cruise ship eventually outran the pirates' boats, Natansohn said. One person suffered minor injuries, she said, but did not elaborate.

"There's some minor damage done to the ship," Rogers said. "There's no water right now, for instance, in some places, and I believe one of the grenades actually went off in one of the cabins, but everyone on board is fine."

[ 11-05-2005: Message edited by: jsea ]


Posts: 641 | From: Texas | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
PamM
First Class Passenger
Member # 2127

posted 11-05-2005 07:15 PM      Profile for PamM   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
151 pax, mostly Americans & Europeans.. she says, but the text says 'Mostly Americans with some Australian and Europeans'.. doesn't matter anyway.

It does not look 25' to me, and what was the guy with the stick going to do?

Pam


Posts: 12013 | From: Cambridge, UK | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged

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