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November 5, 2005

Cruise ship attacked off Somalia

A cruise ship is the latest vessel reported attacked off the coast of Somalia.

According to media reports, the Seabourn Spirit was attacked at about 5.45 AM local time on Saturday morning by pirates in two inflatable boats carrying machine guns and a grenade launcher.

Reportedly, the ship--which is operated by Carnival Corporation's Seabourn Cruise Lines--was carrying about 150 passenger and 160 crew.

The ship took emergency responsive action and the attack was aborted

You can read the CNN report here.

There have been many advisories of the threats to shipping posed by pirates in the region. One of the most recent was issued by Marad.

The attempted attack on the Seabourn Spirit is variously reported as taking place some 70 to 100 miles off the coast.

On October 21, a loss prevention notice from the UK P&I Club noted that four ships, including a UK Club entered ship, hadrecently been hijacked by armed gunmen off the coast of Somalia, and ransom demands incurred.

"The vessels have been hijacked at distances between 80 miles and 180 miles off the Somali coast," noted the U.K. Club.

"The weather conditions off the Somali coastline are generally rough at this time of year and so it is not practical to expect to operate a speed boat at distances greater than five miles offshore," noted the Club. "This implies that the hijackers have much larger support craft from which they can operate."

The UK Club said its members "should ensure their vessels pass the Somali shore at the greatest distance practicable, to avoid pirates that are operating up to 200 miles from the coast."