Piracy vs. cruise ships?


Coalition warship thwarts pirate attack in Arabian Sea[*1] :

ARABIAN SEA (NNS) — British Navy warship HMS Campbeltown saved a civilian cruise liner from potential pirate attack while on coalition patrol in the Arabian Sea.

The Seabourn Spirit’s call for help was taken at the Bahrain headquarters of Royal Navy and coalition operations in the Gulf, as the liner transited for Muscat, Oman. The crew had grown increasingly concerned about small skiffs believed to be pirates closing on their position.

Pirates are known to operate in the area – the Seabourn Spirit was attacked by armed criminals in nearby waters exactly two years ago. A number of vessels have been successfully hijacked in waters around the Somali coastline this year.

Over 120 nautical miles away Campbeltown’s maritime attack Lynx helicopter was dispatched to the scene, armed with its machine gun to reassure the cruise liner, and if necessary intercept the pirates. By the time the helicopter had reached the liner the skiffs had disappeared.

The helicopter’s presence greatly reassured the passengers on board and the Royal Navy has been officially thanked for its assistance by the commanding officer, himself ex-Royal Navy.

Most importantly, Campbeltown’s actions have reassured vessels transiting through the Combined Task Force 150 Joint Operating Area that the coalition warships are effective at supporting requests for help in any direction.

Campbeltown Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Gordon Abernethy, Royal Navy, said, “It is extremely rewarding to be of assistance and know that our presence reassures law-abiding mariners going about their normal business.”

Campbeltown is currently one month into a seven-and-a-half month deployment east of the Suez Canal. Up to and including Christmas, the ship is operating in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.