MSC Cruises' Melody repelled a pirate attack in the evening of April 25 by shooting back with pistols and using fire hoses. The attack took place about 200 miles north of the Seychelles and 500 miles from the coast of East Africa. There were 1,500 passengers and crew aboard, none of whom were injured. According to MSC, pirates approached the ship in a small speedboat firing automatic weapons. According to press reports, MSC uses an Israeli security firm.
The Melody is proceeding on its scheduled itinerary to Aqaba, Jordan.
MSC had previously announced that it was making what it called minor changes to the route taken by Melody on its three-week cruise from Durban, South Africa to Genoa, Italy in the interest of safety.
“Given recent developments concerning possible acts of piracy against ships transiting the Somali east coast and the Gulf of Aden, MSC Cruises now adheres to the navigation recommendations of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Maritime Security Centre for the Horn of Africa, a coordination center run by the EU Naval Force to safeguard shipping in the region,” the company said in a prepared statement. “While in this region, MSC Cruises’ vessels adopt a range of additional security measures to minimize any risk.”
The new route was about 400 miles longer than the previous itinerary, maintaining a greater distance from the coast of Somalia.
To allow for the extra time at sea, MSC Melody will no longer call at the Egyptian port of Safaga; however, but will call at Aqaba and Sokhnan, Egypt.
The new itinerary also offered more time in the Seychelles with an overnight stop at Port Victoria. The overall duration of the cruise is unchanged at 22 days and 21 nights.