Cruise line CEO: Cruising in waters around Somalia 'not safe'

Medeshi April 28, 2009
Cruise line CEO: Cruising in waters around Somalia 'not safe'
The chief executive of one of the world's biggest cruise lines says a route cruise ships commonly take around the Horn of Africa is "not safe" and he no longer will send ships there.
MSC Cruises CEO Pierfrancesco Vago tells today the line's vessels no longer will cruise around Somalia to the Suez Canal in the wake of a pirate attack this weekend on one of the line's vessels in the region.
Pirates fired upon and attempted to board the 1,062-passenger MSC Melody late Saturday as it sailed hundreds of miles off the coast of Somalia on its way to the Red Sea, the Suez Canal and, eventually, Europe. They were repelled by security officers on the ship who fired back.
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"We were in an area that was considered to be safe," Vago tells the trade publication. "MSC will no longer take the risk. I will never have a ship there again until the area is secure."
Several dozen cruise ships operated by Cunard Line, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and other globetrotting lines must sail past the coast of Somalia each year -- either along its northern coast, which faces the Gulf of Aden, or its eastern coast, which faces the Indian Ocean -- as they reposition between Africa, Asia and Europe.
Piracy off Somalia has intensified in recent months, with more attacks against a wider range of targets, including at least two other cruise ships.
The 684-passenger Oceania Nautica, attacked on Nov. 30 by pirates in two small boats, was able to outrun its attackers, but not before they fired shots at the upscale vessel. A similar raid on Nov. 28 on Transocean Tours' 492-passenger Astor was broken up when a German naval ship fired warning shots at the attackers, sending them fleeing.
No one was injured in either incident.
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