Saturday, 16 December, 2017

'Prepare for attack': cruise passengers sent into lockdown

Somali pirates walking GETTY STOCK IMAGE ATTACK The ‘ghost ship’ passed through dangerous waters infamous for Somali pirate activity
Melinda Barton | 13 August, 2017, 18:50

After rumors about a terror attack started to spread throughout the vessel, its captain told the 1,900 passengers that a pirate attack could be near.

It was all fun and games for the almost 2,000 passengers that set sail on the Sea Princess from Sydney on the first leg of cruise of a 104-day cruise.

Carolyne Jasinski, a passenger on the cruise's first leg, wrote that the captain of the ship informed those on the cruise that there was a "real" threat of a pirate attack.

All passengers were required to take part in a compulsory "pirate drill", where they were told to return to their rooms so they could be counted by crew when an alarm sounded.

So instead of enjoying cocktails at deck and pool parties, Jasinski wrote that at sunset, "all curtains were drawn and all shutters closed". She said that all the lights on the ship, which would have signaled its presence in the water, were either dimmed or turned off.

Rumors swirled onboard the ship, according to Jasinski, who said the ship's captain tried to alleviate passenger's fears.

During its long journey through the Indian Ocean, the Sea Princess didn't meet any trouble from pirates or anything else.

The entire ship was subjected to a "pirate attack drill" and were told to "sit on the floor and to hang on to hand rails in case the ship had to manoeuvre away from pirate ships".

One of the most dramatic incidents happened in 2008 when the Nautica cruise ship was sacked upon by two pirate boats in the Gulf Of Aden, according to the IMO.

"The pirate threat should be taken seriously", Jasinski told CNN. The cruise holiday was nothing that they had ever imagined.

Ms Jasinski also said that the captain said they could outrun such boats - but officers were on watch for pirates off the coast of Somalia at all times.

USA TODAY has reached out to Princess Cruises for comment.

"In addition to our normal ongoing security training, additional piracy specific training is conducted prior to any of our vessels entering areas of concern".

In a statement to the New York Daily News, the cruise line assured that "any measures aboard Sea Princess were simply taken out of an abundance caution and not in response to a specific threat and are common to global shipping sailing in the region".