>I just wonder why a cruise ship would navigate in an area where things like this happen.
Probably because something similar to this has not happened to a cruise ship since the Achille Lauro incident, and without constant reenforcement it is easy to develop an "it hasn't happened in a while" false sense of security. Witness the progression between Air India, Lockerbie and 9/11/01.
It's received a bit of publicity in the UK Sunday papers and TV news programmes. Apparently there is on average one incident a day affecting mostly Cargo vessels - some providing food relief to the area.
The cruise ship is fitted with Hi-tech laser sonic equipment capable of delivering a blast of hot air and tremendous noise. Same as fitted to American warships operating in the area to ward off potential terrorist attack from small boats.
>>Apparently there is on average one incident a day affecting mostly Cargo vessels <<
That's because a cargo vessel with a small crew is easier pickings if they can be caught by surprise. Cruise ships still represent a very tempting target if only because the Bad Guys can get more goodies and possibly hostages to ransom that way...if the attack is successful.
An interesting tidbit from today's Salt Lake Tribune:
"[A passenger named] Mahood said she learned at dinner the next night that the captain was not fooled by a ruse that could have spelled even greater trouble.
"'He got a Mayday from a fishing boat' claiming they were under attack from pirates, Mahood said. But identification information from the 'ship in distress' did not match information available to the captain and he declined to respond.
"'It was going to be a trick, is what it was going to be,' Mahood said. 'It was going to be a bigger ship we had to deal with. But when he didn't go back to help them, these two boats showed up . . . launched from the boat that was calling.'"
My sister recently suggested to me that we took a cruise, not on a normal cruise liner, but with a French merchant line which carries a few passengers (under 30). Apparently you can go places, drop off for a few days, and then pick up the next boat from the line coming in, in a week or so, and then continue etc. Decent food (French), and amenities like a library, cinema and swimming pool, plus more contact with the crew etc. A different experience, and one which I thought sounded very attractive.
My rather older sister (aged 64) seemed to find very attractive the information that they frequently sailed in pirate-infested waters, blacked out the ship, docked at dead of night - and (to quote her) "everyone on board is armed to the teeth when danger approaches..."
Me: "What? Even the passengers?"
Jen: "I don't know, it sounds like it."
Me: "Not sure how useful I'd be in a fire fight. Maybe they'll give me a machine gun; more chance of my hitting something?"
She seems very keen. Obviously a desire for adventure kicking in in her dotage. Personally, I'd rather assemble in the centre of the ship secure in the knowledge they had that acoustic device to deploy.
I just don't think I'd be much use in repelling boarders. Being forced to leave my drink, a promising hand in 3-card Brag etc., in order to take up arms and do my bit. Prepared to take the chance, though, I think.
Don't all you killjoys even dare to tell me it never happens ....
>>I just don't think I'd be much use in repelling boarders. Being forced to leave my drink, a promising hand in 3-card Brag etc., in order to take up arms and do my bit.<<
Considering that modern day pirates are every bit as vicious as the cut throats of two centuries past, I'd machine gun the lot of them in a cold second and leave them to the sharks. Of course, having military training, I'd probably be a bit more use in a firefight.
I recall seeing at least one modern cruise ship alongside at Dover with a notice blazoned on her side warning other vessels not to approach within ... metres. Primarily anti-terrorist I presume but anti-pirate also.
I don't recall what the penalty was for violation but it may have cited some recent SOLAS addendum. Something like:
"New Chapter XI-2 (Special measures to enhance maritime security)
A brand-new Chapter XI-2 (Special measures to enhance maritime security) is added after the renumbered Chapter XI-1.
This chapter applies to passenger ships and cargo ships of 500 gross tonnage and upwards, including high speed craft, mobile offshore drilling units and port facilities serving such ships engaged on international voyages.
Regulation XI-2/2 of the new chapter enshrines the International Ship and Port Facilities Security Code (ISPS Code). Part A of this Code is mandatory and part B contains guidance as to how best to comply with the mandatory requirements."