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  #1  
Old November 30th, 2008, 01:00 PM
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Post Pirates' Attempt To Seize Oceania Nautica Fails

Cruise Critic has just posted the following news:

Pirates' Attempt To Seize Oceania Nautica Fails

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  #2  
Old November 30th, 2008, 01:48 PM
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This is what I posted on Oceania's forum earlier today:

Fortunately, all are safe and the ship outran the pirates. Ships that travel through this area are equipped with special equipment for just this type of threat (it's basically a very high pitched stereo with massive speakers). You may recall that Seabourn used a similar type of technology a few years back.

I've cruised through that area (on a German ship and accompanied by German war ships) and it's quite dangerous but is the only reasonable way to get a ship transitioned from Europe to Asia (via the Suez Canal). Going the other way -- around the horn of Africa -- takes a very long time and there's no where really to stop, ports on the west coast aren't really equipped for cruise travelers.

We'll hear more as the days go by but the captain and crew of Nautica -- HEROES.

Carolyn
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  #3  
Old November 30th, 2008, 01:56 PM
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Kudos to the captain & crew of the Nautica! What a relief that no one was hurt. While it's highly unlikely that pirates could actually seize a large cruise ship, they CAN wreak havoc and cause injuries or even fatalities with their weaponry.

I recently canceled a booking on a 2009 Silversea cruise that would have traversed the Suez Canal and made a port stop in Djibouti. With the recent increase in pirate activity in that region of the world, it just seemed too risky.

Just a point of interest here: I've searched all over the internet and cannot find a single news report of this incident, other than this one here from Cruise Critic. It does go to show you that Cruise Critic is by far the best resource for cruise related news, and knows stuff before anyone else does! I'm sure it will eventually show up on the regular news sources, but this "scoop" is a nice little feather in Cruise Critic's cap.

I look forward to reading the reports from passengers on the Nautica! Did they see anything? Did they know what was happening?
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Old November 30th, 2008, 02:11 PM
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This was just posted on Seatrade Insider:

http://www.cruise-community.com/ShowStory.asp?ID=15653

Leejnd4--

Not to spread rumors or fear - but if the pirates could seize a Supertanker, I have no doubt that they could and would seize a passenger ship, given the opportunity.

Frankly, if I were doing a World Cruise, I'd rather go 'round the horn stopping at Cape Town and smaller African ports that are unique and undeveloped...
...wouldn't mind skipping Mumbai either for that matter.
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Old November 30th, 2008, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by bepsf View Post
This was just posted on Seatrade Insider:

http://www.cruise-community.com/ShowStory.asp?ID=15653

Leejnd4--

Not to spread rumors or fear - but if the pirates could seize a Supertanker, I have no doubt that they could and would seize a passenger ship, given the opportunity.
It would be far easier to take a supertanker, she only had 25 crew. I can't believe they have the *&^(s to be trying to take a cruise ship!
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  #6  
Old November 30th, 2008, 04:41 PM
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Not to spread rumors or fear - but if the pirates could seize a Supertanker, I have no doubt that they could and would seize a passenger ship, given the opportunity.
There are numerous reasons why it is highly unlikely that Somali pirates could successfully seize a passenger-laden cruise ship. Cruise ships have exponentially more people on board than tankers or other cargo ships, most of which sail with minimal crew members. With that many humans onboard, it would take quite a few pirates to be able to control/subdue them, compared to tanker/cargo ships. Cruise ships that sail in that region are generally well prepared to successfully defend themselves, as was obviously the case with the Nautica. And all the Western tourists would just make the whole thing very messy, and probably completely unprofitable, for the pirates.

Keep in mind, pirates in that part of the world are not typically seizing ships for terrorist or political purposes - they want money for ransom. Tanker/cargo ships are often owned by corporations that find it easier to just pay the ransom and get their ships back - it's just a cost of doing business, and can be done relatively quietly, without much press. On the other hand, taking hundreds, if not thousands, of Western tourists would result in massive media attention, and a demand for immediate aggressive action by the US and other governments. These pirates don't want to make a statement, start a war or take a stand - they just want to quickly and quietly get paid off.

As for why these bozo pirates even bothered with this attempt at the Nautica - who knows! Nobody said that Somali pirates are the sharpest tools in the shed. Obviously they never stood a chance of actually commandeering that ship. But they COULD have caused injuries or deaths if they'd been able to get close enough - as almost happened with the Somali pirate attack of a Seabourn ship back in 2005. That's why I chose to cancel my cruise - with pirate attacks increasing in the region, I'd be worried not so much about being taken hostage, but about thwarted attacks resulting in harm to passengers.
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Old November 30th, 2008, 06:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leejnd4 View Post
There are numerous reasons why it is highly unlikely that Somali pirates could successfully seize a passenger-laden cruise ship. Cruise ships have exponentially more people on board than tankers or other cargo ships, most of which sail with minimal crew members. .
Ever hear of theAchille Lauro, just a bit smaller than the R ships?

With all those passengers & crew just think of the ransom demands they could make.

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Old November 30th, 2008, 08:57 PM
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Ever hear of theAchille Lauro, just a bit smaller than the R ships?

With all those passengers & crew just think of the ransom demands they could make.

Yes of course I've heard of the Achille Lauro. That ship was hijacked by Palestinian terrorists who were using it as leverage to get Israel to release dozens of Palestinian political prisoners. Entirely different situation. As I said earlier, the Somali pirates are not engaging in acts of piracy for terrorist or political purposes - they want easy money. Trying to extort ransom from the powerful governments of hundreds of Westerners would not be anything near as easy as extorting ransom from for-profit corporations who just want their ships back.

Furthermore, that hijacking occurred 23 years ago, when defensive technology was not at the level it is today.

In any case, I do not wish to get into an argument - I'm simply stating my opinion, which is that it is highly unlikely that Somali pirates would be able to successfully hijack a passenger-laden cruise ship. I am not in any way suggesting that it is safe to cruise in that region - obviously I don't, as I canceled my own cruise, and switched to a safer itinerary. But I'm quite confident that you will not be coming back in here any time soon and saying "I told you so" after a cruise ship gets hijacked. It's just not gonna happen. IMO, of course.
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Old November 30th, 2008, 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Leejnd4 View Post
Yes of course I've heard of the Achille Lauro. That ship was hijacked by Palestinian terrorists who were using it as leverage to get Israel to release dozens of Palestinian political prisoners. Entirely different situation. As I said earlier, the Somali pirates are not engaging in acts of piracy for terrorist or political purposes - they want easy money. Trying to extort ransom from the powerful governments of hundreds of Westerners would not be anything near as easy as extorting ransom from for-profit corporations who just want their ships back.
Anything is possible in today's crazy world.

Who would have thought a Walmart worker would get trampled to death.
Never say never!
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  #10  
Old December 1st, 2008, 02:40 AM
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Default As usual, as in Mumbai, it is the locals who will really suffer!

For these pirates anything that sails in these waters is "fair game" to be held for ransom. Unfortunately as with Mumbai (and India as a whole) the ports near and far (especially Eyqpt) will suffer financially but this is of no concern to the pirates (even if their financial victims share the same religious belief) so until the UN declares Somalia to be a country with status (as in no legitimate government since 1991) all the navies patrolling the off shore waters will be powerless to chase these pirates right up to their shores.
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Old December 1st, 2008, 11:39 AM
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Just a quick note to say that what happened with the Achille Lauro has a direct bearing on major investment cruise lines have placed in upgrading security systems, staffing and technology onboard. The experience with that ship, I've been told repeatedly by officers and others, was a wake up call to the industry and it's been heeded. Hasn't happened since (save for Le Ponant, a small luxury sailing yacht).

Carolyn


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Originally Posted by Leejnd4 View Post
Yes of course I've heard of the Achille Lauro. That ship was hijacked by Palestinian terrorists who were using it as leverage to get Israel to release dozens of Palestinian political prisoners. Entirely different situation. As I said earlier, the Somali pirates are not engaging in acts of piracy for terrorist or political purposes - they want easy money. Trying to extort ransom from the powerful governments of hundreds of Westerners would not be anything near as easy as extorting ransom from for-profit corporations who just want their ships back.

Furthermore, that hijacking occurred 23 years ago, when defensive technology was not at the level it is today.

In any case, I do not wish to get into an argument - I'm simply stating my opinion, which is that it is highly unlikely that Somali pirates would be able to successfully hijack a passenger-laden cruise ship. I am not in any way suggesting that it is safe to cruise in that region - obviously I don't, as I canceled my own cruise, and switched to a safer itinerary. But I'm quite confident that you will not be coming back in here any time soon and saying "I told you so" after a cruise ship gets hijacked. It's just not gonna happen. IMO, of course.
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Old December 1st, 2008, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by editor@cruisecritic View Post
Just a quick note to say that what happened with the Achille Lauro has a direct bearing on major investment cruise lines have placed in upgrading security systems, staffing and technology onboard. The experience with that ship, I've been told repeatedly by officers and others, was a wake up call to the industry and it's been heeded. Hasn't happened since (save for Le Ponant, a small luxury sailing yacht).
Good point. And I think it's important to note that the Le Ponant had no passengers on it - just approx. 30 crew members. Had there been Western passengers onboard, I'm quite sure that would have become way more of an international incident than it was - in fact, few people, other than us cruise fanatics, even know about it.

I do worry about the safety of cruise passengers going through that region, and I suspect there will be more incidents. But I am confident that, as in the case of the Nautica, the ships will be able to avoid being actually seized. I worry more about things like pirates using rocket-propelled grenades! If anyone remembers the Seabourn Spirit incident, the pirates shot a grenade at the ship, which lodged in the wall of a cabin, and had to be disarmed by US sailors after the attack. That incident, if I recall correctly, was the first time a cruise ship used that sonic technology that blasts loud noises at attackers. Presumably, defensive technology has improved even more since then.
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Old December 1st, 2008, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Leejnd4 View Post
There are numerous reasons why it is highly unlikely that Somali pirates could successfully seize a passenger-laden cruise ship......

Keep in mind, pirates in that part of the world are not typically seizing ships for terrorist or political purposes - they want money for ransom......These pirates don't want to make a statement, start a war or take a stand - they just want to quickly and quietly get paid off.

As for why these bozo pirates even bothered with this attempt at the Nautica - who knows! Nobody said that Somali pirates are the sharpest tools in the shed.... I'd be worried not so much about being taken hostage, but about thwarted attacks resulting in harm to passengers.
All good points! Completely agree full 100% with you!
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Old December 1st, 2008, 09:47 PM
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Here's my question: would knowing about the potential dangers impact you from embarking on a cruise that travels through the
Gulf of Aden?

I did it, knowing that I might not be protected by the US government (I was on Europa, which called at two ports in the US-don't go-there Yemen; attempted several times to connect with State Dept. about that and got no response). Went anyway, had one of the more impactful travel experiences -- ever! -- and have no regrets. But mind you I WAS on a German, rather than American ship (though a German ambassador and his family on holiday in Yemen was kidnapped, and ultimately successfully released, a few months later).

Would I do it again, knowing now what we know (prior to my trip in 2004 there had been no attempts on cruise ships and Europa was accompanied by a Germany Navy vessel)? Yes. I would. Though I'd prefer to have the naval accompaniement....

Carolyn

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leejnd4 View Post
Good point. And I think it's important to note that the Le Ponant had no passengers on it - just approx. 30 crew members. Had there been Western passengers onboard, I'm quite sure that would have become way more of an international incident than it was - in fact, few people, other than us cruise fanatics, even know about it.

I do worry about the safety of cruise passengers going through that region, and I suspect there will be more incidents. But I am confident that, as in the case of the Nautica, the ships will be able to avoid being actually seized. I worry more about things like pirates using rocket-propelled grenades! If anyone remembers the Seabourn Spirit incident, the pirates shot a grenade at the ship, which lodged in the wall of a cabin, and had to be disarmed by US sailors after the attack. That incident, if I recall correctly, was the first time a cruise ship used that sonic technology that blasts loud noises at attackers. Presumably, defensive technology has improved even more since then.

Last edited by editor@cruisecritic; December 1st, 2008 at 09:48 PM.
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Old December 1st, 2008, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by editor@cruisecritic View Post
Here's my question: would knowing about the potential dangers impact you from embarking on a cruise that travels through the
Gulf of Aden?

I did it, knowing that I might not be protected by the US government (I was on Europa, which called at two ports in the US-don't go-there Yemen; attempted several times to connect with State Dept. about that and got no response). Went anyway, had one of the more impactful travel experiences -- ever! -- and have no regrets. But mind you I WAS on a German, rather than American ship (though a German ambassador and his family on holiday in Yemen was kidnapped, and ultimately successfully released, a few months later).

Would I do it again, knowing now what we know (prior to my trip in 2004 there had been no attempts on cruise ships and Europa was accompanied by a Germany Navy vessel)? Yes. I would. Though I'd prefer to have the naval accompaniement....

Carolyn
Excellent question - and might I suggest, a great topic for a Cruise Critic poll? I'd be curious to see what other cruisers think about this.

I can, in fact, give you a direct answer to this from my own personal experience. I actually DID cancel my cruise through that region. I was originally booked on a Silversea 2009 itinerary that starts in Port Said, Egypt, and sails through the Suez canal, stopping at ports such as Safaga, Aqaba, Salalah, and Djibouti, ending in Mombassa, Kenya. I booked this cruise with full awareness of the 2005 Seabourn attack - but prior to the recent escalation in piracy in the region. Once I learned of the seizing of that Ukranian ship with the tanks on it, and started reading about the increase of pirates in the region (and dearth of law enforcement), I started thinking this cruise might not be such a good idea.

My 71-year-old Mom is my usual cruise companion, so I discussed it with her - and she convinced me to find another cruise. So I switched to a 2009 Celebrity itinerary that will still get us to see the pyramids (the main point of this trip), while avoiding the Gulf of Aden.

But I can tell you that if it was me alone, I likely would NOT have switched. I tend to be more adventurous than Mom, and more of a risk-taker - and the exotic ports sound WAY more fascinating to me than the relatively pedestrian Mediterranean ports we will now be visiting (most of which I've already been to). I would have continued to do research into the area, and if I felt that the situation deteriorated to the point where the risk factor was too high even for me, I would have canceled - but I personally don't think it's there yet.
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Old December 4th, 2008, 05:00 PM
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Default Understand the Problem to Deal With It

As for why these bozo pirates even bothered with this attempt at the Nautica - who knows! Nobody said that Somali pirates are the sharpest tools in the shed..[/quote]

Not being the sharpest tools in the shed would put these pirates right alongside all those Americans who know nothing about world affairs. Rather than being seen as "bozos", these people should be seen for what they are; desperate people who live in circumstances that are beyond imaginable to those of us in the so-called free world and who are forced to risk their lives in any venture that may result in the ability to feed their families. The irony of westerners lamenting the difficulties this causes them on board luxury cruise ships while people live in despicable conditions because the UN and western governments will do nothing to clean up the causes, probably escapes those who, without training or experience, comment so authoritatively on the defense of a ship at sea. Direct your efforts in the right direction and the pirate problem will go away.
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Old December 4th, 2008, 06:09 PM
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Pirates would have to be clueless to attempt to board a cruise ship! They'd be overcome immediately should they try to cut in the buffet line or hoard a lounger by the pool.

Apologies, I couldn't resist.

Ships must be able to protect themselves as the ocean is too vast to safeguard them with military patrol ships. This is an obvious quick solution, it seems to me.

Last edited by Sammy; December 4th, 2008 at 06:09 PM.
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Old December 4th, 2008, 06:46 PM
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As for why these bozo pirates even bothered with this attempt at the Nautica - who knows! Nobody said that Somali pirates are the sharpest tools in the shed..

Not being the sharpest tools in the shed would put these pirates right alongside all those Americans who know nothing about world affairs. Rather than being seen as "bozos", these people should be seen for what they are; desperate people who live in circumstances that are beyond imaginable to those of us in the so-called free world and who are forced to risk their lives in any venture that may result in the ability to feed their families. The irony of westerners lamenting the difficulties this causes them on board luxury cruise ships while people live in despicable conditions because the UN and western governments will do nothing to clean up the causes, probably escapes those who, without training or experience, comment so authoritatively on the defense of a ship at sea. Direct your efforts in the right direction and the pirate problem will go away.
Yeah, so, clearly you're referring to me when you mention "Americans who know nothing about world affairs" - since it was me you quoted. Sorry Bub, but you are flat-out wrong. I know quite a bit about world affairs. There is little I personally can do to right the wrongs of the world at large - but I do make a point of learning as much as I can. So you are simply off-base, and I resent your inference that I am "right alongside" the pirates in my essential intelligence. And I daresay those pirates probably know far less about MY part of the world than I do about theirs.

As for referring to them as bozos - that was not a commentary on the forces that drive them to their criminal activities. It was a commentary on the absurdity of a few dudes on a skiff thinking they could actually seize an enormous, Western-owned cruise ship. Again, whatever the economic, governmental and cultural forces are that drive them to their pirate acts, no one can honestly claim that it was a move that bespoke of great intelligence.

You comment on the irony of us Westerners lamenting the difficulty these pirates cause us. You may think it's ironic...but I think it's simply understandable. We are not Somalians...we do not live their lives. We live our lives - which fortunately for us, happens to include travel on luxury cruise ships, and not being forced to commit desparate criminal acts. What they are doing is criminal and indefensible...regardless of what drives them to it.

You say we should "Direct our efforts in the right direction and the pirate problem will go away." Who...us? Cruise ship passengers? I'm not a world leader, or a government employee, or even a Red Cross worker. I'm just yer average everyday American citizen, going about my daily life. I cannot save the world. I do my part to help those less fortunate, where I can...my charitable efforts tend to focus on problems closer to home, as I cannot spread myself so thin that I can make a difference in every poor third world country. Unfortunately, that leaves out Somalia.
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