It has just been reported that a world cruise onboard Sea Princess has undergone major precautions for fear of a ‘pirate threat’.
Guests onboard the Princess ship were subject to a dusk-till-dawn blackout by the captain and ordered to go without the standard entertainment for ten days.
The 1,900 passengers aboard the 104-day world cruise departed from Sydney and were allegedly stunned to learn that all curtains must be drawn and shutters closed as the vessel was to be turned into a ‘ghost ship’.
Describing the ordeal, Carolyne Jasinski, a passenger, stated the blackout occurred for ten days as the ship travelled across the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Suez Canal.
She said Captain Gennaro Arma addressed the ship and apologised for alarming passengers, but nevertheless insisted the threat was real and the ship ‘must be prepared for a pirate attack’.
‘No deck parties, no movies under the stars, no late-night outdoor bar hopping or pool dipping,’ she reported.
‘No lights, no party atmosphere, no lapping up tropical breezes on their balconies. All around the ship, as the sun set, all curtains were drawn and all shutters closed. Bright lights, which normally signal the presence of the Sea Princess on the ocean, were dimmed or turned off altogether.’
Ms Jasinski, a media specialist who was a guest speaker on the ship, said that the Captain later announced that ‘as well as the dusk-till-dawn blackout… we would have a compulsory pirate drill’.
She said that passengers joked that they knew what to do because they had seen Captain Phillips, a movie which depicts a hijacking by Somali pirates, starring Tom Hanks.
However, it quickly emerged that ‘this pirate threat was not something to be joked about’; the captain even shamed the residents of three cabins who refused to take part because, apparently, they did not want to abandon their game of bridge.
‘Any remaining smirks soon disappeared as the pirate drill alarm sounded and the crew was instructed to move to their designated muster stations,’ she continued.
‘Passengers were sent back to their cabins so they could be counted. They were advised to sit on the floor and to hang on to hand rails in case the ship had to manoeuvre away from pirate ships.’
The threat prompted passengers to constantly alert officials on board of nearby ships that emerged on the horizon and were believed to be potential threats.
‘The new-found interest from passengers drove the captain nuts,’ Ms Jasinski stated. ‘Many calls were made to the bridge to report suspicious boats. He had to ask passengers to stop calling and to trust in the officers who were on watch.’
A spokesperson for the operator of the cruise said the ship was not facing a specific threat from pirates but the actions were taken as a cautionary 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 said.
What is your reaction to the news? Do you think Princess handled it well and took the right precautions? What would you have done if you thought your cruise ship was under threat of a pirate attack? What necessary precautions have been taken on your past cruises? Let us know below!
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