Cruise ship was not attacked by pirates, says Costa Cruises

Dec 08, 2009
Author: Terry Hutson

Indian shipping authorities denied reports at the weekend that the Italian cruise ship COSTA ROMANTICA, which is scheduled to begin a cruise season operating out of Port Louis, Mauritius later this month, had been attacked by pirates off the Oman coast. The story which appears to have been a form of hoax came from an Goan seafarer on board who phoned his brother to say the ship was at anchor and surrounded by pirates.

Indiaís Directorate General of Shipping issued a statement on Sunday denying the reports saying it had verified the matter with the owners of the ship, Costa Cruises who assured them that the vessel was safe and able to sail on schedule from Oman. No highjacking attempt had been made on the vessel which is carrying 1,356 passengers and 610 crew.

EUís NAVFOR reported yesterday that 11 suspected pirates were in detention with the Seychellois coastguard after the French patrol frigate FNS FLOREAL intercepted several pirate boats 250 n.miles northwest of Victoria in the Seychelles. The French warship, accompanied by the Seychellois patrol vessel TOPAZ took the eleven Somalis into custody and afterwards destroyed the boats.

In another incident the Teekay Capesize crude oil tanker NORDIC SPIRIT (151,294-DWT, built 2001) came under attack from pirates in the Gulf of Aden but managed to evade being highjacked thanks to the timely arrival of Indian Navy helicopters. There were no injuries on board the tanker.

In yet another incident a Dutch navy ship has taken 13 pirates into custody off the coast of Oman after they unsuccessfully attempted to highjack the projects cargo vessel BBC TOGO (6,569-gt, built 2007) at the weekend. The German ship was able to beat off the attackers who were in several motor boats, despite coming under fire from the pirates, who later broke off the engagement and transferred to a larger fishing vessel in the area. With the arrival of the Dutch warship the fishing boat and smaller motor boats were captured and a large quantity of arms and ammunition was discovered. It hasnít been announced what is being done with the captured pirates.



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