A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice


Saturday, November 05, 2005

Alas, No Captain Jack Sparrow!

AP: Pirates Attack Cruise Ship---

MIAMI — Pirates fired a rocket-propelled grenade and machine guns Saturday in an attack on a luxury cruise liner off the east African coast, the vessel's owners said.

Two armed boats approached the Seabourn Spirit about 100 miles off the coast of Somalia and fired as the boats' occupants attempted to get onboard, said Bruce Good, a spokesman for Miami-based Seabourn Cruise Line, a subsidiary of Carnival Corp.

The ship outran them and changed its course.

"Our suspicion at this time is that the motive was theft," Good said, adding that the crew had been trained for "various scenarios, including people trying to get on the ship that you don't want on the ship."

The attackers never got close enough to board the Spirit, but one member of the 161-person crew was injured by shrapnel, said Debrah Natansohn, president of the cruise line.

Press Association, the British news agency, said passengers awoke to the sound of gunfire as two 25-foot inflatable boats approached the liner.

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 her daughter saw the pirates out of their window.

"There were at least three rocket-propelled grenades that hit the ship, one in a state room," Laird wrote. "We had no idea that this ship could move as fast as it did and (the captain) did his best to run down the pirates."
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Piracy along the Somalia coast is common — several ships a month are attacked or hijacked, with valuables stolen and crews held for ransom.