There is something very odd about the pirate attack on the cruise ship reported yesterday - it doesn't fit the pattern of the Somali pirates at all. This is noted in this sentence from an article from The Age of Australia:
Typically, pirates target freighters that carry only a handful of crew members.
The Seabourn Spirit looks nothing like a freighter or even one of the tankers that have occasionally been attacked...the small number of the pirates (10 or so) the size of their boats (small rigid hulled inflatables), the small number of boats (2) and their poor choice of tactics speak to a hasty attack of opportunity and not a well-planned assault. A cruise line spokesman said it well:
"The crew did an excellent job and those guys gave up. ... These guys didn't plan this too well."Of course, driving your ship through pirate-infested waters even after a series of warnings to stay 150 miles offshore issued by agencies like the Office of Naval Intelligence doesn't speak too highly of the cruise line planning either...though the ship's course of action and its crew's training do show a degree of preparedness that is commendable...
Mark it down as a chance encounter and be thankful that no one was seriously injured.
UPDATE: A little more on the pirate tactics comes out:
... the pirates sent out a bogus distress signal from a larger vessel but it was ignored by the captain.More here and here. The latter piece says,
Photographs taken of the so-called pirate indicate that the attackers were heavily armed with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. They wore black outfits similar to the ones worn by terrorists who are members of Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and others.However, remember to apply some skepticism to initial reports.
UPDATE: A British maritime union calls for more protection for shipping off Somalia.
UPDATE2; Others notice how unusual this attack is.