'Prepare for attack': cruise passengers sent into lockdown

Sea Princess cruise and a Somali pirate

SEA PRINCESS CRUISE • GETTY STOCK IMAGE FEAR Tourists were warned that a Somali pirate attack was under way

According to Newsweek, cruise ship Sea Princess with 1, 900 passengers on board left from Syndey.

Passenger Carolyne Jasinski, writing in news.com.au, described Captain Gennaro Arma's address to the ship.

That is exactly what passengers on a recent around-the-world 104-night sailing aboard the Sea Princess had to do as the captain and crew feared they could be taken over at any moment.

The blackout happened while the vessel crossed through the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Suez Canal.

Deck parties, outdoor bars and movies were all cancelled and curtains and shutters were drawn at night. She said that all the lights on the ship, which would have signaled its presence in the water, were either dimmed or turned off.

During the drill, passengers were told "to sit on the floor and to hang onto hand rails in case the ship had to maneuver away from pirate ships", she wrote. "However, the threat, he said, was real and the ship must be prepared for a pirate attack". "In the case of a real threat, those passengers in outside cabins were told to close and lock their balcony doors, then lock their entrance door to their cabin and take shelter in the corridors".

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One of the most dramatic incidents happened in 2008 when the Nautica cruise ship was sacked upon by two pirate boats in the Gulf Of Aden, according to the IMO.

Fortune has reached out to Princess Cruises and Jasinski for additional comment.

The passengers on the Sea Princess were traveling from Australia to Dubai.

Once the crew notified the travelers - some of whom paid a reported $50,000 for the whole trip - they immediately began to take it seriously, Jasinski claimed.

Ms Jasinski also said that the captain said they could outrun such boats - but officers were on watch for pirates off the coast of Somalia at all times.

"In addition to our normal ongoing security training, additional piracy specific training is conducted prior to any of our vessels entering areas of concern". A Sea Princess spokesperson told The Telegraph that there was not a specific threat and all the measures were precautionary and, in fact, common to ships sailing through that region. "I believe the cruise lines have it all under control and the fact that they have these drills and take extra precautions like the dusk-til-dawn ban are commendable".

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