Pirates armed with grenade launchers and machine guns tried to hijack a luxury cruise liner off the east African coast Saturday, but the ship outran them, officials said.
Two boats full of pirates approached the Seabourn Spirit about 100 miles off the Somali coast and opened fire while the heavily armed bandits tried to get onboard, said Bruce Good, spokesman for the Miami-based Seabourn Cruise Line, a subsidiary of Carnival Corp. The ship escaped by shifting to high speed and changing course.
"These are very well-organized pirates," said Andrew Mwangura, head of the Kenyan chapter of the Seafarers Assistance Program. "Somalia's coastline is the most dangerous place in the region in terms of maritime security."
The attackers never got close enough to board the Spirit, but one member of the 161-person crew was injured by shrapnel, cruise line president Deborah Natansohn said. . . ."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."