Guests aboard a Saga cruise in the Indian Ocean were forced to take cover as menacing Somali Pirates drew alongside their ship.
The incident took place recently as the Spirit of Adventure sailed from Madagascar to Zanzibar and terrified passengers were ordered to take shelter below deck in the middle of a black tie dinner.
A secret code word was issued to staff who told diners to keep their heads down in case shots were fired through the windows. The passengers had received a lecture three days earlier on what to do if a pirate ship approached, so most were very calm throughout the whole ordeal.
One guest recounted the details of what happened just after they had sat down to dinner. “They told us to sit on the floor and the doors were barricaded. We were told they had spotted pirates two miles behind us. We were told to keep our heads down in case they shot us through the windows. Then we were told they were up beside us. Everyone was calm.”
It was full steam ahead as the captain of the Spirit of Adventure with 350 passengers on board managed to successfully out run the pirates.
A Saga spokesperson commented “The Spirit of Adventure was followed by a suspect vessel for about an hour this evening. After guests were moved down to the middle of the ship the captain sped up to full speed and the vessel went away. We think it was scouting out the ship. Usually pirates are not interested in passenger ships but cargo ones which have a higher value. There are well rehearsed procedures that are put in place for this sort of incident.”
Naval authorities were alerted to the incident and guests were able to return to the dining room soon after and enjoy their evening meal, despite the soup having to be reheated.