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Somali Pirates Shoot at Italian Cruise Ship; Cruise Ship Fires Back

A group of pirates decided to try and capture an Italian cruise ship but they ran into a bit of a snag. The ship had some private Israeli security forces on board and they fired back at the pirates:

The small white skiff approached the Italian cruise ship Melody after dinnertime as it sailed north of the Seychelles, the pirates firing wildly toward the 1,500 passengers and crew on board.

What the pirates didn't expect was that, in the darkness, the crew would fire back.

In a new twist to the increasing scourge of Somali pirate hijackings, the private Israeli security forces aboard the MSC Cruises ocean liner fired on the pirates Saturday with pistols and water hoses, preventing them from clambering aboard, the company's director Domenico Pellegrino said.

"It was an emergency operation," Pellegrino told The Associated Press. "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 roughly 1,000 passengers were hurt and by Sunday afternoon they were back out on deck sunning themselves, Pellegrino said.

A little bit of resistance made the pirates decide the cruise ship wasn't such a profitable target after all. More freighters and cruise ships should hire private security forces to travel with them. We have air marshals on board our flights. Why not have marshals on ships?


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Comments (15)

Imagine that! You shoot ba... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Imagine that! You shoot back, the pirates leave. What an innovative idea!

The reason private ships ar... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

The reason private ships are not normally armed is because different ports have different laws governing firearms, and often none can be on-boad a private ship coming into port.

If the world wants to solve the Somali pirate problem it need only change international law to allow private ships to carry firearms up to say the size of a .50 caliber machine gun as long as all the weapons are locked away in a secure arms locker prior to the ship entering territorial waters. The pirates already have such weapons, so there's no risk of them gaining something they don't have should a ship so armed be captured. What arming and training the crew does is make it nearly impossible for a few pirates in small boats to capture a ship. If the pirates escalate to larger ships with larger weapons they can be more easily detected, targeted and sunk by warships in the area. Simple solution, but one that runs counter to the politics of many nations

Obama:Them damn jo... (Below threshold)
914:

Obama:

Them damn joos fired back? This is war

Another way to do this woul... (Below threshold)
RicardoVerde:

Another way to do this would be to have security squads dropped aboard after the ship clears national waters. Security crews seem to me to be a better solution than arming the ship's crew.

Arm the passengers.... (Below threshold)
RB:

Arm the passengers.

Mac Lorry, your asking for ... (Below threshold)
marc:

Mac Lorry, your asking for the U.N. to do something.

FAT chance!

On a related subject: I fully expect the bleeding hearts to cry rivers full of tears over the pirate in U.S. hands.

The whining has already started because the "poor baby" was dirt poor and allegedly "grabbed" by pirates and forced into raiding ships on the high seas.

A good pirate is a dead pir... (Below threshold)
JC Hammer:

A good pirate is a dead pirate.

Self-defence isn't Progress... (Below threshold)
davidt:

Self-defence isn't Progressive!

All this "can't recall," "d... (Below threshold)

All this "can't recall," "didn't understand," etc bull crap....they're admitting outright that they're either totally incompetent, liars, or both. Why should we believe a word out of their mouths?

Undoubtedly, the left will ... (Below threshold)
Jason Author Profile Page:

Undoubtedly, the left will cry foul and claim that this will cause the pirates to become more violent and use bigger, deadlier weapons. Okay, so let's say they do. What should we then do? Just not respond to their actions and let the pirates do whatever they want? Issue some strongly worded resolutions? They will not stop unless we start doing something and teach them that they will never have the upper hand again.

So last week, Paul Hooson r... (Below threshold)

So last week, Paul Hooson recommended gun control as a means of controlling piracy. No, seriously, he did. I'm not making it up. It is instructive to think about how it would have worked in this case, and by "worked", I mean, the cruise ship would have been unarmed and the pirates, being pirates, would have been armed, and we would probably now be looking at another hostage situation.

OM - "No, seriously, he... (Below threshold)
marc:

OM - "No, seriously, he did."

The sad part is he was serious about gun control as well.

Heh. I used to have a bump... (Below threshold)
kevino:

Heh. I used to have a bumper sticker on the back of my truck advertising for a local gun range:

Wolf Firearms and Range

Fight crime: shoot back

Here is an idea for a new r... (Below threshold)
Christina Viering:

Here is an idea for a new reality show, send a cruiseship out filled with just the Israeli security forces. I wonder how they would react to a hijacking?

I can't imagine how our Mer... (Below threshold)
OIF_to_USC:

I can't imagine how our Merchant Marine was allowed to deteriorate in its security capabilities. One former merchant officer told me that in addition to fire hoses, they kept some riot shotguns, .30 carbines, and .38 revolvers aboard merchant ships during the Vietnam War and for many years thereafter. He said that the UN had a lot to do with disarming ships by getting member states to discourage armed ships from entering their ports. Insurance companies were under the false impression that their client shipping companies would not send their ships into harm's way if they were forced to go defenseless, and maritime unions mistakenly considered it a victory for mariners if there was one more thing they didn't have to maintain a qualification in; namely, repelling boarders through armed response. Recent events with an American crew aboard an American ship on the high seas will hopefully change all of that. I know that every out-of-work security officer and contract hungry international security agency will be banging on the doors of Congress and the U.S. Maritime Administration for work, but the U.S. Merchant Marine can take care of themselves without hired security ... if the powers that be will provide the tools and training, and will let them do it.




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