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- Published on Monday, 27 April 2009 14:26
- Written by Teijo Niemelä
Despite taking the necessary precautions to evade piracy, MSC Cruises ship MSC Melody was attacked by pirates near the Seychelles islands on the evening of Saturday 25 April 2009 at 1935 UTC. After calling at Port Victoria – which is classed as a safe zone to sail in by the Maritime Security Center HOA – MSC Melody took a route that was 80 degrees east and 600 nautical miles from the Somali coast, when she was attacked. The pirates approached the ship in a small speedboat firing automatic weapons. The ship initiated avoidance procedures and quickly escaped the attack with no injuries to any of the approximately 1,000 passengers and 500 crew members on board.
MSC Melody then continued its course. At 1400 UTC on Sunday 26 April she was met by the Spanish warship SPS Marques de la Ensenada, which escorted MSC Melody to North of Aden as a precaution. Following this incident, MSC Cruises immediately informed the Italian government foreign office (La Farnesina), the Maritime Security Center in London and the Coordination Center for Security in Dubai.
Owner of MSC Cruises, Gianluigi Aponte, made this statement: "We are very proud that our crew proved to be able to promptly tackle the emergency. At the moment of the attack, the ship was 600 nautical miles from Somalian coast, in an area that is not considered dangerous, and 180 nautical miles from Seychelles. All security measures adopted worked perfectly. Captain Ciro Pinto followed all security protocols provided, guiding the ship out of danger wiith a sequence of evasive manoeuvres and then taking a course of 080°, lights turned off."
"Even in such a critical situation," Aponte continued, "land and onboard staff showed great professionalism and extreme clarity, allowing the ship to continue on its itinerary without additional problems and consequences for passengers and the crew."
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