Somali Pirates Target Luxury Cruise Ship

Pirates fire upon an Oceania cruise ship sailing through the Gulf of Aden

Passengers of a luxury cruise ship were victims of some unexpected high seas drama, as their ocean liner came under attack from brazen Somali pirates.

Two fishing boats commandeered by pirates attacked the Nautica, an Oceania cruise ship sailing through the Gulf of Aden.  Officers punched the throttle of the 30,000-ton ship and left the hapless pirates in its wake.  "Nautica was immediately brought to flank speed and was able to outrun the two skiffs," an Oceania spokesman said, hailing the quick response of Captain Jurica Brajcic.

Before the ship escaped, pirates closed to within about 300 yards and fired eight rifle shots at the stately vessel.  Oceania boasts that the Nautica is equipped with "Villeroy & Boch china, the finest silver and crystal, and a distinctive museum-quality art collection."  Fares range up to $20,000 per passenger.

No passengers or crew were hurt in the attack, which is only the second time Somali pirates have attempted to hijack a cruise ship, according to Fox News.  Sources say 400-700 passengers and 200-400 crew were aboard the ship.  The passengers were American, British and Australian, according to Fox News.

Foreign navies, including America's 5th fleet, patrol the Gulf of Aden, a known pirate hotspot.  In past statements, American naval officers have said it is simply too large to be effectively patrolled, and advised transiting ships to be wary. 

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