M/S Nautica Cruise Ship Escapes Pirate Attack (VIDEO)

The U.S.-operated M/S Nautica cruise ship has escaped an attempted hijacking by a group of pirates, its operators say.

The ship, run by Oceania Cruises, had more than 1,000 people on-board when the six pirates shot at it and tried to take it over Sunday. Just over 650 of the people were passengers and about 400 were crew members.

The M/S Nautica was in the Gulf of Aden (see map below) when the pirates, riding in two speedboats, approached it and opened fire. The Oceania Cruises captain ordered the M/S Nautica to full-speed and was able to escape the attackers. He reportedly advised all passengers to stay inside until the threat had passed. No one was hurt, and the ship was not damaged.

Oceania Cruises released the following statement about the cruise ship pirate attack:

On November 30, 2008, at approximately 0928 local time, 0528 GMT, M/S NAUTICA was transiting through the Gulf of Aden within the prescribed Maritime Safety Protection Area which is patrolled by international anti-piracy task forces. As the vessel sailed past several groups of non-hostile fishing vessels, two small skiffs were sighted by the Officer on Duty and deemed potentially hostile. The skiffs, approaching from a range of approximately 1000 meters, attempted to intercept the vessel’s course. Captain Jurica Brajcic and his officers immediately began evasive maneuvers and took all prescribed precautions. NAUTICA was immediately brought to flank speed and was able to out run the two skiffs. One of the skiffs did manage to close the range to approximately 300 yards and fired eight rifle shots in the direction of the vessel before trailing off. No one aboard NAUTICA was harmed and no damage was sustained.

All guests and crew onboard are safe and there were no injuries. All requisite international authorities have been notified and all anti-piracy precautions were in place prior to the event and all necessary measures were taken during the event.

The following is a news report on the cruise ship pirate attack: