Cruise ship Sea Princess arrives Thursday, Sept.14, 2006 in the harbour of St.John’s, N.L.
Travellers on a 104 -day cruise were forced into blackout mode for 10 days because the crew feared an attack from pirates.
There were 1,900 travellers aboard the Sea Princess which was set to sail from Sydney to Dubai, when Captain Gennaro Arma issued a warning, passenger Carolyne Jasinski explained on news.com.au.
“The threat, he said, was real, and the ship must be prepared for a pirate attack,” she wrote in her account of the 10 days aboard the “ghost ship.”
“For 10 days, we travelled through an area where the risk of piracy is higher — the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Suez Canal,” which is why Arma forced the passengers to cut the music and lights as they travelled at night through the pirate-infested waters around Somalia.
The music simply stopped at night as all live entertainment was halted, curtains were drawn and all lights were off from dusk ‘til dawn.
The captain even had passengers conduct a “compulsory pirate drill.”
“Passengers nervously quipped that they knew what to do,” Jasinski said. “They’d seen the movie Captain Phillips.”
The joking quickly came to an end as the captain sounded the pirate drill alarm and the crew moved into position at their designated stations.
Jasinski was a guest speaker aboard the ship, and as such, was sent to a muster station to help.
“The captain said we could outrun any pirate ships but just in case, officers were on watch 24/7 and fire hoses were at the ready on Deck Seven. This is where we normally took our daily stroll, and it’s the obvious place for pirates to board the ship.”
For 10 days and nights, the ship was in a state of tension.
Passengers watched the seas for suspicious activity and if they happened to catch a glimpse of a ship, they reported it to the bridge, to much of the chagrin of the captain.
“Many calls were made to the bridge to report suspicious boats,” she said. “He had to ask passengers to stop calling and to trust in the officers who were on watch.”
A spokesperson for the cruise line said the ship took the actions as a precautionary measure.
“Any measures aboard Sea Princess were simply taken out of an abundance caution and not in response to a specific threat, and are common to international shipping sailing in the region,” the spokesperson told the Daily Mail.
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