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US cruise line confirms pirate attack off Somalia

Miami-based Oceania Cruises confirmed a failed pirate attack on its ocean liner Nautica in the Gulf of Aden over the weekend, saying the ship was fired upon but managed to outrun its assailants.

world Updated: Dec 02, 2008 14:29 IST

Miami-based Oceania Cruises confirmed a failed pirate attack on its ocean liner Nautica in the Gulf of Aden over the weekend, saying the ship was fired upon but managed to outrun its assailants.

Two skiffs "deemed potentially hostile" attempted to intercept the cruise ship's course from a range of about 1,000 yards (meters), but the captain took evasive maneuvers, the company said in a website statement.

"Nautica was immediately brought to flank speed and was able to out run the two skiffs. One of the skiffs did manage to close the range to approximately 300 yards and fired eight rifle shots in the direction of the vessel before trailing off.

"No one aboard Nautica was harmed and no damage was sustained," the company said.

The comments seem at odds with an earlier statement from the Danish navy that international coalition warships on Sunday had stopped Somali pirates from hijacking a luxury cruise ship in the Gulf of Aden, which Danish media identified as the Nautica.

The Danish navy, which since September commands the multinational naval Task Force 150 charged with combating piracy and weapons smuggling in the northern part of the Indian Ocean, refused to identify the vessel.

Danish TV2 News, however, said six to eight armed pirates on two speed boats were observed speeding toward the Nautica, a cruise liner that had departed from Florida and was carrying 400 passengers and 200 crew.

A French navy warship, alerted by the Danish Navy, scrambled a helicopter to the scene, which sent the pirates fleeing, TV2 News said.