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Cruise ship goes into 'ghost' mode for 10 days to avoid pirates

Cruise ship goes into 'ghost' mode for 10 days to avoid pirates”

When under attack, he said passengers must be off the deck and inside the ship, the vessel would conduct zig-zagging manoeuvres to make it hard for the pirates to board.

Deck parties, movies under the stars, late-night outdoor bar hopping or pool dipping were banned on the ship and lights were either dimmed or switched off.

Carolyne Jasinski, an Australian media specialist who often writes about travel, says passengers also went through drills to prepare for a plausible ambush at sea.

The Sea Princess, operated by Princess Cruises, is expected to finish its journey in September in Dubai, The National reported.

And some other measures would include boat traps, razor wire, electric fences in order to prevent pirates from getting aboard; slippery anti-traction foam can also be used to prevent them from climbing up.

But some passengers did not take the dusk-till-dawn warning so seriously with three cabins who left their lights on.

"It was made very clear on the Sea Princess, very quickly, that this pirate threat was not something to be joked about", Jasinski wrote in the essay published Monday.

All passengers were required to take part in a compulsory "pirate drill", where they were told to return to their rooms so they could be counted by crew when an alarm sounded.

During the drill, passengers were sent to their cabins so that crewmembers could do a headcount.

And in case of a real threat, passengers in balcony cabins were told to lock their doors and lock the entrance door to their cabins and sit in the corridor.

She said: "He apologised for alarming passengers".

Somali pirates have been a continuous threat to the vessels in the Indian Ocean.

.

The captain assured them that they could outrun any pirates, but, just in case, the crew set up powerful hoses to knock pirates off ladders, as well as a detergent solution to keep them from getting a good grip, Jasinski wrote.

According to records maintained by International Maritime Organization (IMO) since 1984, obtained by the United Nations, they said there had been more than 440 reported acts of piracy off the Somali coast till 2008.

"In addition to our normal ongoing security training, additional piracy specific training is conducted prior to any of our vessels entering areas of concern", the company said.

A spokesperson for the operator of the cruise told the Telegraph the ship was not facing a specific threat from pirates but the actions were taken as a cautionary measure.

The ship had installed a long range acoustic device or LRAD and directed this at two small skiffs when pirates fired machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades at it.



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