Vessel approached by suspected pirates last week identified
Saturday, December 01, 2012
The cruise ship approached by suspected Somali pirates off Masirah Island on November 23 has been identified as the Azamara Journey, owned by Azamara Club Cruises, a subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Cruises.
Confirming last week's incident, officials from Azamara Club Cruises said that several skiffs were seen moving towards the vessel off the coast of Oman. The ship's captain asked guests on board to move to the interior of the vessel, and security personnel on the vessel fired flares at the approaching craft, forcing them to abort their approach.
“Our company closely monitors piracy activity in the Gulf of Aden and surrounding areas and works with law enforcement, intelligence and military organisations to ensure we are well prepared for our sailings. During our passage through the Gulf of Aden, our ships take certain precautions and additional preparations, including stationing extra lookouts around the ship,” said an official statement.
“The safety of our guests is our highest priority. Our crew members, security teams and procedures are capable of responding to a wide variety of challenges, and we are always well prepared for our passages through the Gulf of Aden,” it added. A maritime security source said he was pleased the ship’s owners had confirmed the incident when questioned on the matter late last week by international media. The fact that the incident had been brought to light would assist in finding out the risks associated with commercial travel in the region.
“If there is a continued threat, then it is better to have knowledge of the potential danger. Forewarned is forearmed,” said the maritime security source.
Azamara Journey departed from Piraeus, Greece, on November 14 and arrived in Mumbai, India, on November 29. During the cruise, the vessel made port calls at Muscat and Fujairah in the UAE. Weighing over 30,000 tonnes, it can accommodate nearly 700 passengers and 390 crew members.