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Luxury liner becomes ‘ghost ship’ to deter pirates

August 10, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Tourists on a 104-day world cruise from Sydney aboard Sea Princess had to forget entertainment and razzmatazz for 10 days as the captain imposed a dusk-to-dawn blackout to avoid a “pirate threat”.

The ship was in the vicinity of Somalia, a notorious hotbed of pirates, according to an account carried in news.com.au and in Britain’s Daily Telegraph.

Carolyne Jasinski, a media specialist who was travelling as a passenger and as a guest speaker on the ship, said the blackout lasted 10 days as the ship cruised across the Indian Ocean, past the Gulf of Aden and through the Arabian Sea and the Suez Canal.

Sea Princess in safer waters. There are no pirates in the tall ship at lower right

Pirates have in the past generally attacked merchant ships and oil tankers, sometimes taking them hostage for ransom.

Vivid footage of security squads using semi-automatic weapons to defend merchant vessels against Somali pirates have been posted online (see the 90-second clip below).

The latest story is different, because even though no pirates were encountered, a cruise ship was involved rather than a freighter.

Jasinski said Sea Princess Captain Gennaro Arma apologised for alarming passengers but said the ship “must be prepared for a pirate attack” as the threat was real.

“No deck parties, no movies under the stars, no late-night outdoor bar hopping or pool dipping,” Jasinski wrote.

“No lights, no party atmosphere, no lapping up tropical breezes on their balconies. All around the ship, as the sun set, all curtains were drawn and all shutters closed. Bright lights, which normally signal the presence of the Sea Princess on the ocean, were dimmed or turned off altogether.”

The story quoted a spokesperson for the cruise line saying any measures aboard Sea Princess were “simply taken out of an abundance of caution” rather than as a reaction to any specific threat.

Written by Peter Needham

 

 

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