Pirates target British cruise ship
Published 13/01/2011 | 13:52
A cruise ship carrying hundreds of British passengers has been targeted by pirates in the Indian ocean.
Holiday-makers on board The Spirit of Adventure had a formal dinner interrupted to be told pirates were approaching.
The 350 guests and 200 crew of the ship, operated by British company Acromas which also owns Saga and the AA, were asked to go to the main lounge and sit on the floor until the danger had passed.
The speedboat carrying the pirates came within "several hundred metres" of the The Spirit of Adventure, said the cruise ship's spokesman Paul Green.
Passengers on the two-week cruise, costing £2,000-a-head, were 100 miles off the coast of Zanzibar, Tanzania, when the drama unfolded on Thursday night. They had been given a 45-minute safety briefing, including instructions on what to do in case of a pirate attack days previously.
Mr Green said: "The ship spotted on its radar a small vessel approaching it at speed and so a set of well-rehearsed procedures were put in place, including informing the relevant naval authorities and implementing security measures on board."
Guests were in the lounge for 45 minutes before the all-clear was given once the pirate ship was 10 nautical miles away.
Mr Green said: "There was no attempt to board and there was no firing at the ship."
He added: "I think seeing that the ship was well-prepared, and that it was a cruise ship, they went away."
The ship set off from Mauritius on New Year's Day and is due to finish its journey in Mombasa, Kenya.