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Marine Log

November 26, 2007

Seabourn Spirit saved from another brush with pirates

Just two years after outrunning pirates off Somalia, the cruise liner Seabourn Spirit has been saved from a potential repeat attack.

Royal Navy warship HMS Campbeltown responded to a call for help from Seabourn Spirit taken at the Bahrain headquarters of Royal Navy and coalition operations in the Gulf, as the liner transited for Muscat, Oman.

The cruise ship's crew had grown increasingly concerned about small skiffs believed to be pirates closing on their position.

Over 120 nautical miles away Campbeltown's maritime attack Lynx helicopter was dispatched to the scene, armed with its machine gun to reassure the cruise liner, and if necessary intercept the pirates.

By the time the helicopter reached the liner the skiffs had disappeared.

The helicopter's presence greatly reassured the passengers on board and the Royal Navy has been officially thanked for its assistance by the ship's captain, himself ex-Royal Navy.

Navy News Service notes that Campbeltown's actions have reassured vessels transiting through the Combined Task Force 150 Joint Operating Area that the coalition warships are effective at supporting requests for help in any direction.

Campbeltown Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Gordon Abernethy, Royal Navy, said, "It is extremely rewarding to be of assistance and know that our presence reassures law-abiding mariners going about their normal business."

Campbeltown is currently one month into a seven-and-a-half month deployment east of the Suez Canal. Up to and including Christmas, the ship is operating in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.