Security guards aboard an Italian cruise ship 500 miles off the coast of Somalia traded gunfire with pirates this weekend as almost 1,000 passengers waited anxiously in their cabins to know whether they would continue their journey as holidaymakers or hostages.
The pirates drew alongside the liner in a small speedboat on Saturday night and sprayed the bridge with automatic rifle fire. But as they attempted to board the vessel, Israeli security guards on board opened fire with pistols, forcing the pirates to retreat.
The commander of the Msc Melody, Ciro Pinto, said: “It felt as if we were at war.”
The skirmish is thought to be the first exchange of fire between a passenger vessel and attackers since the start of the current wave of piracy off the Horn of Africa.
The captain’s decision to use guns was praised by the ship’s owners, but sharply criticised by a maritime official who said the move had imperilled passengers’ lives.
“Having weapons on a passenger or merchant ship is dangerous,” Andrew Mwangura of the Mombasa-based East African Seafarers Assistance Programme told Reuters.
“They should have used other means to shake off the pirates, like a loud acoustic device.”
Don’t mess with the Italians. They will buy muscle and they will use it–in this case Jewish Ninjas. Sound cannons are fine as a first resort, but pirates who attack ships with guns should expect to get shot to death.