Modern Day Pirates Attack Cruise Ship

Modern Day Pirates Attack Cruise Ship

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Pirate Attacks - Statistics & Facts

Typically, pirates will try to hijack the vessels under attack and take the crews hostage or steal the cargo. After peaking in 2010 and 2011, global attempted and actual attacks reached a record low in 2019. However, recent figures suggest that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic might lead to an increase in pirate activity in the coming months. As of May 2020, a 24% year-on-year increase in the global number of attacks and attempted attacks has been recorded, as weak economic conditions have left governments with fewer resources to battle piracy. The Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of Guinea were particularly affected by this new wave of attacks.

Indeed, over the past few years, piracy has been increasing off the coasts of South America as well as West Africa, while Somali piracy decreased considerably after peaking in 2017. In West Africa, militant groups see piracy as a way to raise money for their activities, often attacking tankers to sell oil on the black market. Ultimately, weak governments and economies, combined with easy access to weapons, allow piracy to spread.

This text provides general information. Statista assumes no liability for the information given being complete or correct. Due to varying update cycles, statistics can display more up-to-date data than referenced in the text.

Combating Modern Pirates

International anti-piracy efforts have been effective in bringing the number of total piracy incidents down from a peak of nearly five hundred attacks in 2010 to around half of that by 2014. Hopefully, this trend will prove to be sustainable over the long-term. Piracy must be treated like any other crime and, like the efforts to decrease crime in general, ending piracy on the high seas will involve improving the socioeconomic situations of people globally, especially in coastal nations that are hotbeds for piracy. These efforts need to be particularly intensified in South East Asia, which has recorded almost three quarters of all pirate attacks. For countries on the west coast of Africa, establishing stable governments will likely be just as critical to combatting piracy as heavy policing of the coasts there.

Ships today are increasingly employing defensive mechanisms against piracy, such as razor wire, electric fences, high-pressure water hoses, and even such hi-tech creations as ‘sound guns’. This new technology is from BAE Systems, and is a non-lethal laser cannon that can be used against moving targets more than a mile away which will daze potential pirates.

Piracy poses an especially unique and serious threat to the global economy, as most international trade takes place via sea transport. As a result, there is a need for a solid international strategy to deal with this scourge. To do so, international cooperation needs to go beyond simply arresting and prosecuting pirates, and look into the underlying causes of poverty that may turn many individuals to a life of maritime crime. These include poor governance, corruption, and lack of education that perpetuates cyclical poverty. Unless these problems are solved, piracy is unlikely to be abated upon the high seas.

Cruise secrets: How ships are armed to protect against pirates revealed

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Armed fighters blast Somali pirates trying to board their boat

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Those on board experience the high life of voyages at sea, from comfortable cabins to a host of restaurants and leisure activities. The cruise staff work to keep the experience of the guests as pleasurable and stress free as possible. They are on-hand to offer advice and assistance, as well as to arrange excursions when passengers want to venture out onto land. Yet there is a hidden dark side to their time on board, which has now been revealed.

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While there are mechanical issues that could go wrong with a ship, there are political problems that could affect the journey too although the risk is very minimal.

The last hijack happened in 2017, when Aris 13, was hijacked by pirates in two skiffs a few miles off Alula, yet this was the first hijacking of a large commercial vessel since 2012.

Those cruises that sail along the coats of Africa have been pinpointed as suffering particular risk.

This is because of what is deemed a &ldquolegitimate threat&rdquo by pirates.

Piracy off the coast of Somalia, Africa, has been a threat to international shipping since the Somali Civil War, in 2000.

Piracy experts have estimated that in 2008, pirates gained about $80million dollars through ransom payments.

Cruise secrets: How cruise ships protect against pirate attack (Image: Getty)

A cruise insider has recently revealed the contingency plan for a pirate attack on a cruise ship.

They let slip: &ldquoTo prepare for any eventuality, ships are often equipped with high-pressure water hoses and sonic cannons that can fire concentrated beams of sound capable of permanently affecting human hearing from over 900 feet away.&rdquo

Graeme Brooks, a former Principal Warfare Officer with the Royal Navy, spoke out about the pirate three and said the best method of defence is to disrupt the targeting process.

He said: &ldquoThere are millions of square miles of water and you can only see vessels on the horizon up to 10 miles away. It&rsquos like looking for a mouse on a rugby pitch.

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Cruise secrets: Vessels are equipped with pirate protection (Image: Getty)

Cruise: Pirates are a threat off the coast of Somalia (Image: Getty)

&ldquoAnd it&rsquos impossible to know whether a small craft is a threat or just fishermen. You can&rsquot tell the difference between a weapon and a baguette at anything more than 200 yards.&rdquo

Water canons can be used to drench the pirate should they attempt to venture onto deck.

They could also serve to sink the pirate ships, which are typically smaller in size and weaker in frame.

The protective measures are described in the innocuously-titled document BMP4: &ldquoBest Management Practices for Protection Against Somalia-Based Piracy.&rdquo

Razor wires and electric barriers are also among the suggestions.

A terrifying video recently documented the moment weapon wielding pirates attempted to attack the Seabourn Spirit cruise ship.

Danger Adrift: Modern-Day Pirates Threaten More Than the High Seas

Nov. 14, 2005 — -- Skull and crossbones buccaneers have resurfaced with "Terminator"-style tactics, shining a spotlight on an age-old crime that some experts warn could inspire terrorists.

The Carnival-owned cruise liner Seabourn Spirit recently fended off a pirate attack along Africa's eastern coast, with one person sustaining injuries. The attempt to hijack a cruise ship highlights the pirates' growing audacity -- wielding rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns, the pirates off of Somalia's coast have stolen some of the fairy-tale glamour of yesteryear's high sea thieves.

"Modern-day piracy is not Johnny Depp-inspired characters with an eye patch," said John Burnett, author of "Dangerous Waters: Modern Piracy and Terror on the High Seas." Referring to the popular swashbuckling, charcoaled-eyed Captain Jack Sparrow of "Pirates of the Caribbean," Burnett warns that 21st-century pirates plague many parts of the world and are better armed, and more brutal.

Forget about muggings at sea, pirates want the full loot, regardless of casualties, he said.

Modern-Day Buccaneers

Since March, 29 attacks have occurred off the coast of Somalia, according to the International Maritime Bureau. Although this was the first attack on a cruise ship in more than a decade, pirates attacked 205 ships in the first nine months of 2005 compared with 251 in the same period a year ago, according to the IMB's Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships Report.

"Although the decline in the number of attacks has decreased, some key hot spots have deteriorated like off the coast of Somalia," said Jayant Abhyankar, deputy director of the IMB, explaining that since the early '90s, crime on the high seas has resurfaced.

Indonesian waters pose the greatest danger with 61 incidents in the first nine months of 2005 and a total of 93 attacks reported in 2004, according to the IMB. Hot spots around the world include the Malacca Straits (between Malaysia and the Indonesian island of Sumatra) followed by Nigeria, Bangladesh, Iraq and the northeastern coast of South America.

And despite the falling numbers, the attacks have been more fatal. Pirates killed 30 crew members in 2004, up from 21 a year earlier.

Pirates usually work in bands but go after different targets, said Abhyankar. Some will go after any boat -- a yacht, a cruise liner or a barge -- hoping to find some good loot like the sea-faring guerrillas in Somalia. Some will hijack ships simply for the cargo while others will attack a boat to kidnap the crew in the hopes of a hefty ransom. Boats represent "easy pickings," especially off the coast of lawless countries like Somalia or in places where maritime security is weak, he said.

Terrorism on the High Seas?

Burnett commends the Seabourn's brilliant seamanship and the cruise lines' long track record of safety at sea but fears that piracy will become a terrorist tool. "When terrorists learn to hijack, kidnap passengers and crew, they will probably get involved," he said.

Merchant vessels represent an even easier target since they chug along slowly, lugging more than 95 percent of the world's goods. "The global economy could come to a screeching halt if you close off the world's choke points like the Malacca Strait," Burnett said. The strait connects the Pacific and Indian oceans and is the shortest sea route to Asian countries.

Shipping experts agree that the Seabourn incident is a wake-up call to all sailors and non-sailors.

"Most efforts to control piracy is Band-Aid stuff," said Burnett. He and others hope that the IMB, along with the United Nation's International Maritime Organization, can convince the United Nations Security Council to take action.

Despite the global decline in reported pirate attacks, he believes the number of attacks probably stands more in the ballpark of 2,000 a year versus IMB's number of 205."It's not just about bad press or about keeping insurance premiums low, it's mostly about cost," Burnett said. It costs $20,000 to $50,000 a day to run a ship, making all stops -- even for an investigation -- expensive, lost time, he said.

That's why Unitel, a maritime security firm, recommends that all ships have armed security personnel on board or have an armed escort in power boats.

"A bank doesn't transport money without armed guards or an armored car, why should boats not be able to protect themselves?" said Unitel security adviser William Callahan.

The IMB says armed guards pose more of a risk than a safeguard. In addition, countries don't want to have foreigners impeding on their sovereign territory. And if ships are transporting volatile cargo like oil, a gunshot could lead to an explosive situation.

Armed escorts might be the better solution, but Burnett points out that securing every ship is a Herculean feat that would blow shipping costs out of the water.

Still Safe to Cruise?

So does that mean you shouldn't book a "Love Boat" cruise?

"I would take a cruise but just not in pirate territory," Burnett said. He recommends Hawaii, Alaska and yes, the Caribbean.

"Cruising is the safest way to travel and there is no reason why that is not the case today," said Michael Crye, president of the International Council of Cruise Lines.

He stressed that cruise ships screen all of their passengers and their belongings. In addition, all ships have up to 20 trained security officers on board at all times and boats have surveillance cameras and high-tech communication as well as non-lethal weapons to thwart attacks.

"The fact that this ship [Seabourn Spirit] was able to safely deliver its passengers to a safe port demonstrates the effectiveness of the security plans and countermeasures," Crye said.

In Seabourn's case, the captain out-navigated the pirates and used a parabolic audio device, a "boom box" that emits an ear-splitting sound, to ward off the attackers. Regardless, the captain was about 100 miles offshore despite IMB's warning to stay 200 miles away from the coast.

Crye said the cruise ship industry heeds the IMB's sea warnings and meets every two months with different intelligence agencies to review its security plans, and map out new cruise itineraries.

Armed Italian cruise ship fends off Somalian pirates

An Italian cruise ship came under attack by Somalian pirates on Saturday, but its security forces were able to prevent them from clambering aboard, the company's director said Sunday.

A small white skiff approached the Melody cruise ship after dinnertime as it sailed north of the Seychelles, off Africa's east coast. The pirates fired wildly toward the 1,500 passengers and crew on board, but the MSC Cruises ocean liner's private Israeli security forces fired back.

Adding a new twist to the increasing scourge of Somalian pirate hijackings, the security guards aboard also sprayed water hoses at the pirates to prevent them from clambering aboard, company director Domenico Pellegrino said.

"It was an emergency operation," Pellegrino said. "They didn't expect such a quick response. They were surprised."

Passengers were ordered to return to their cabins and the lights on deck were switched off. The massive vessel then sailed on in darkness, eventually escorted by a Spanish warship to make sure it made it to its next port.

"It felt like we were in war," the ship's Italian commander, Ciro Pinto, told Italian state radio.

None of the 1,000 passengers were hurt and by Sunday afternoon they were back out on deck sunning themselves, Pellegrino said.

Armed ships

But analysts said the unprecedented use of weapons by the ship's security force could make things worse in the pirate-infested waters off the Horn of Africa, where more than 100 ships were attacked last year by pirates based in Somalia. In nearly all the successful hijackings, the crews were unharmed and were let go after a ransom was paid.

"There is a consensus in the shipping industry that, in the vast majority of cases, having an armed guard is not a good idea. The No. 1 reason is that it could cause an escalation of violence and pirates that have so far been trying to scare ships could now start to kill people," said Roger Middleton, an expert on Somalian piracy at London-based think tank Chatham House.

Other experts disagree, saying piracy off the coast of modern-day Somalia is unique in that the pirates are most interested in human cargo.

"Their business model, if you will, has been to not cross a line which would bring the whole weight of the world upon them. They want to seize hostages and ransom those hostages. So the likelihood that they would escalate violence is unlikely," said Africa expert Peter Pham, director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University in Virginia.

He argued that arming ships is not a sustainable solution, given that an estimated 20,000 vessels pass through the Gulf of Aden each year.

"For the Melody, you're talking about 1,000 passengers and 500 crew members, so maybe for 1,500 people paying to have security on board makes both economical and tactical sense — but when you're dealing with ordinary cargo ships it's very different," he said.

Pellegrino said MSC Cruises has Israeli private security forces on all their ships because they are the best. He said the pistols on board were at the discretion of the commander and the security forces.

The attack occurred near the Seychelles and about 800 kilometres east of Somalia, according to the anti-piracy flotilla headquarters of the European Union's Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa. The Melody was travelling up Africa's east coast, from Durban, South Africa, to Genoa, Italy.

Pinto said the pirates fired "like crazy" with automatic weapons, slightly damaging the liner, when they approached in a small, white, Zodiac-like boat.

"After about four or five minutes, they tried to put a ladder up," Pinto told the TV station Sky TG24.

"They were starting to climb up but we reacted, we started to fire ourselves. When they saw our fire, and also the water from the water hoses that we started to spray toward the Zodiac, they left and went away. They followed us for a bit, about 20 minutes," he said.

Other clashes at sea

In a separate incident Sunday, Yemen's Interior Ministry said the Yemeni coast guard clashed with pirates and killed two of them when they tried to hijack a Yemeni tanker in the Gulf of Aden. And the Turkish cruiser Ariva 3, with two British and four Japanese crew members aboard, survived a pirate attack near the Yemeni island of Jabal Zuqar, said Ali el-Awlaqi, head of the Yemeni El-laqi Marine Co.

Earlier this month, the U.S. navy shot and killed three pirates and took a fourth into custody after a five-day standoff in the waters off Somalia, where they had hijacked the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama.

Saturday's exchange of fire between the Melody and pirates was one of the first reported between pirates and a nonmilitary ship. Civilian shipping and passenger ships have generally avoided arming crewmen or hiring armed security for reasons of safety, liability and compliance with the rules of the different countries where they dock.

2. RMS Titanic

The many experts in 1912 who considered the Titanic &ldquounsinkable&rdquo were to be proven wrong on the boat&rsquos maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. Thomas Andrews had designed the ship to withstand head-on collisions and rammings from other ships. However, the North Atlantic Ocean iceberg that took down the vessel scraped through five of its 16 watertight compartments. If it had only gone through four, the boat would have reportedly remained afloat. The Titanic&rsquos lifeboats, similar to other systems at the time, were designed to shepherd passengers to nearby rescue ships, not take them to shore. Unfortunately, help was many hours away in the wee hours of April 15 when the boat was going under. The poor crew organization also caused many lifeboats to leave the ship at far less than full capacity. Plus, they only had enough boats for about a third of the people onboard. As a result, more than 1,500 people died &mdash either on the ship or in the icy waters, waiting for help. A recent theory suggests a fire that started in the hull before the ship set sail weakened the vessel&rsquos steel walls, making it susceptible to an iceberg that normally wouldn&rsquot have caused as much damage. Still want to ride the Titanic? Australian billionaire Clive Palmer&rsquos Blue Star Line company is building a modern replica of the ship, named Titanic II, which is set to sail in 2022.

Pirates Attack Cruise Ship

Pirates fired a rocket-propelled grenade and machine guns Saturday in an attack on a luxury cruise liner off the east African coast, the vessel's owners said.

Two armed boats approached the Seabourn Spirit about 100 miles off the coast of Somalia and fired as the boats' occupants attempted to get onboard, said Bruce Good, a spokesman for Miami-based Seabourn Cruise Line, a subsidiary of Carnival Corp.

The ship outran them and changed its course.

"Our suspicion at this time is that the motive was theft," Good said, adding that the crew had been trained for "various scenarios, including people trying to get on the ship that you don't want on the ship."

CBS News correspondent Randall Pinkston reports that while the ship's captain took evasive maneuvers, the passengers were ushered below deck to the ship's dining room.

"He was, to some extent, steering the ship to create waves to overturn the boats and at one point he nearly rammed one of the boats," said passenger Norman Fisher.

Trending News

The attackers never got close enough to board the Spirit, but one member of the 161-person crew was injured by shrapnel, said Debrah Natansohn, president of the cruise line.

Press Association, the British news agency, said passengers awoke to the sound of gunfire as two 25-foot inflatable boats approached the liner.

Edith Laird of Seattle, who was traveling on the ship with her daughter and a friend, told British Broadcasting Corp. TV in an e-mail that her daughter saw the pirates out of their window.

"There were at least three rocket-propelled grenades that hit the ship, one in a state room," Laird wrote. "We had no idea that this ship could move as fast as it did and (the captain) did his best to run down the pirates."

None of the vessel's 151 passengers, mostly Americans with some Australians and Europeans, were injured, Good said.

The Spirit had been bound for Mombasa, Kenya, at the end of a 16-day voyage from Alexandria, Egypt. It was expected to reach the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean on Monday, and then continue on its previous schedule to Singapore, company officials said.

The 10,000-ton cruise ship, registered in the Bahamas, sustained minor damage, Good said. "They took some fire, but it's safe to sail," he said.

Piracy along the Somalia coast is common &mdash several ships a month are attacked or hijacked, with valuables stolen and crews held for ransom.

Somalia's 1,880-mile coastline is Africa's longest, and the country has had no effective central government since opposition leaders ousted dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. They then turned on each other, transforming this nation of 7 million into a patchwork of battling fiefdoms ruled by heavily armed militias.

First published on November 5, 2005 / 12:47 PM

© 2005 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Do Pirates Still Exist? (with pictures)

Most people conjure up the image of a man with an eye patch and a peg leg with a parrot when they think of pirates, assuming a person illegally downloading software doesn't come to mind. What many people are not aware of is that modern piracy on the high seas costs the global economy billions of dollars. Some regions of the global ocean are deemed extremely dangerous including the waters surrounding Indonesia and Somalia. Piracy attacks number in the hundreds annually, according to the International Maritime Bureau.

Piracy is carried out for the cargo aboard ships, which are sometimes either sunk or retrofitted so that they cannot be identified. These “ghost ships” are used to carry out additional pirate attacks and move illegal goods globally. Most of these ships are eventually recovered by their owners. Pirates are especially common in Southeast Asia and off the coast of Africa, where unstable local governments have resulted in a power vacuum, easily filled by pirates.

Two favorite targets of pirates are supertankers or very large crude carriers, ships designed to carry an extremely large amount of expensive cargo. These ships are slow moving, and therefore make easy targets, especially in areas which are difficult to navigate. In most cases, the ships are almost fully automated, and therefore have a limited staff to defend against pirates. Several major shipping companies have begun implementing measures to try and counteract piracy, but these measures are sometimes countered from within by mutinies and takeovers carried out by the staff of the ship. Murder of crew members has been known to happen, with death by piracy an unfortunate fact for some merchant mariners.

Pirates also attempt attacks on cruise ships and sailboats for the lucrative cargo within. Some cruise ship passengers carry thousands of dollars, intended to last for the duration of a sometimes lengthy trip. Confronted with armed pirates, most passengers will surrender money and personal goods. Successful cruise ship attacks are rare, thanks to well-trained crew who act quickly to prevent piracy.

Some nations also experience quasi-military piracy, attacks on ships carried out by desperate members of the national military who are not making enough money to survive. Using military equipment, uniforms, and credentials, these pirates can gain access to a wide variety of ships and loot them. In this case, pirates usually attack small personal vessels that are easy to assault.

Piracy tends to be under reported, due to the way in which marine insurance polices are written. Most companies will report the ship as lost to collect insurance, rather than captured by pirates. Some insurance companies are cooperating with major shipping companies to embed LoJack systems, aimed at tracking and preventing hijackings, or at least recovering stolen ships, which can represent the loss of millions of dollars to a shipping company.

Modern day pirates began to be a growing threat in the year 2000, with a 60 percent increase in pirate attacks over the year before. Increasing global instability contributes to the threat of piracy, with a limited number of nations beginning to take steps against the pirates infesting their coastal waters. Several global bodies monitor piracy, including the International Chamber of Commerce, which also provides suggestions for avoiding and repelling pirate attacks.

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a InfoBloom researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a InfoBloom researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Number of pirate attacks worldwide 2010-2020

In 2020, there was an increase of pirate attacks against ships worldwide compared with the previous year. While 162 ships were attacked by pirates in 2019, the number of ships attacked grew to 195 in 2020.

Although the term “pirate” may conjure up images of bearded men with eye patches, wooden legs and parrots who were convicted and buried centuries ago, pirate attacks are indeed posing a threat to today’s shipping lines all over the world.

Contemporary maritime piracy reached its peak level in 2010, with around 445 reported incidents. The regions most likely to come under threat from pirate attacks include Indonesia, the Malaysia, and Nigeria. Here, pirates are attracted by the abundance of natural resources in the countries themselves or in adjacent areas. Strategic passages for oil transport such as Bab-el-Mandeb, near Somalia, or the Strait of Malacca off the Indonesian coast have become notorious targets for maritime crime. In 2013, oil tankers shipped 15.2 million barrels of oil per day through the Strait of Malacca this exceeds the daily volume of oil imported into the whole of the European Union. With oil prices hovering around 70 U.S. dollars per barrel in 2018, the hijacking of a crude oil tanker sounds like a promising deal for pirates. In 2017, Venezuela was thrust into the limelight: Here, the number of incidents rose from five to 12 between 2016 and 2017.

It is often the crew and the pirates themselves who pay most dearly for maritime crime. In Somali waters, at least 149 crew members were held hostage in 2011, and over 100 pirates were killed - mostly by naval forces such as armed guards, who are increasingly seen to be of central importance to the protection of merchant ships.

Watch the video: inCruises-MSC Seaview. ΚΡΟΥΑΖΙΕΡΕΣ ΜΕ ΠΑΓΚΟΣΜΙΟ ΚΡΟΥΙΖ ΚΛΑΜΠ! (August 2022).