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Cruise Ship Attacked by Somalia Pirates

The M/V NAUTICA carrying more than 1,000 people was attacked off the coast of Somalia by pirates.

The NAUTICA was on a 32-day cruise from Rome to Singapore when it was attacked on Sunday November 31, 2008 in the Gulf of Aden. The cruise ship is owned by Miami based Oceania Cruises, and was carrying 656 passengers and 399 crew members.

Even though multi-national task force warships are patrolling the area two small boats attempted to intercept the ship. However, the captain took evasive actions by changing course and increasing speed, but the boats pursued the ship and fired at least eight times at the ship.

The NAUTICA is the largest cruise ship targeted by pirates. However, another luxury yacht with 30 people onboard was attacked last April. The French yacht LA PONANT was captured by pirates, but after an eight-day standoff with a US warship the vessel was released.

The brazen pirates are still holding a Ukrainian cargo ship with 33 battle tanks and a Saudi oil tanker with at least 2 million barrels of crude oil onboard. The pirates are demanding $25 million to release the tanker and $5 million to release the Ukrainian ship.

Meanwhile, the Russian warship, NEUSTRASHIMY, escorted a Danish ship, CARIBBEAN EXPRESS, a Cayman flag ship, SLOT MARKLAND, and the Russian ship, SKOL-3 through the Gulf of Aden.

The 1,500 or so ragtag pirates have been in the world spotlight this year as they have launched more than 100 attacks in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. They are still holding 17 ships and more than 250 crewmembers.