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November 7, 2005

U.S. Navy clears cruise ship of grenade remnants

Navy New Service reports that the U.S. Navy responded Nov. 7 to a request to dispose of suspected unexploded ordnance left over from a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) that struck the cruise liner Seabourn Spirit during a Nov. 5 attack by pirates near the coast of Somalia.

Members of U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 8, Detachment 4, were already in Seychelles to provide support to a previously scheduled port visit by USS Gonzalez. The EOD team met Seabourn Spirit at sea prior to its arrival in port.

Two RPG rounds had struck Seabourn Spirit while the vessel evaded the pirates' attempt to board.

Two technicians from the Navy team, led by Officer in Charge Lt. John Stewart, were transported via the Seychelles Port Authority pilot boat out to Seaborn Spirit early the morning of Nov. 7. Once aboard Spirit, the team made a thorough inspection of both the suspected unexploded ordnance and the impact area of the second RPG. The technicians determined that the object in question was actually the remains of a rocket motor and not the warhead from the RPG, which had detonated on impact.

"Upon boarding the ship we verified that the ship had set the proper hazardous exclusion zone from the suspected UXO (Unexploded Ordnance)," said Stewart. "We then made sure that the remnants of the RPG were no longer hazardous to the ship or the passengers," said Stewart.

Once the technicians assured that there was no threat to the cruise liner's passengers, the EOD team removed the remnants.

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