Recently, there have been a number of articles published about preparing cruise ships for attacks by pirates as the ships pass through the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb into and out of the Gulf of Aden.
Cruise blogger Danielle Fear published, via Cruise Critic, an article yesterday titled Blackout on Black Watch: Pirates, Razor Wire and Water Cannons on a Fred. Olsen Cruise. Ms. Fear is currently sailing on the 108-night “Wonders of the World” cruise onboard Fred. Olsen’s Black Watch around the “horn of Africa through the Red Sea to the Suez Canal, where piracy is still rampant and razor wire is added to the handrails ….” It is interesting to read her first hand account of security teams boarding the ship to prepare the passengers for pirates attacks as the ships begins to pass Somalia and Yemen. Although she states that “it is rare for them to approach cruise ships,” Mr. Fear included a photo of razor wire on the rails along the entire length of the Promenade Deck installed to act as a deterrent to pirates boarding the ship.
The passengers reportedly are required to attend mandatory “safe haven” drills to learn “where to go and what to do” in the event of a pirate attack.
A tabloid newspaper published an article earlier in the week describing how “a “crack team” boarded the Queen Mary 2 as it sailed through the “treacherous” Gulf of Aden. It appears that the Queen Mary 2 wasn’t lined with barb wire, like the Black Watch, but the article mentioned that it was equipped with water cannons and sonic devices to keep the pirates at bay.
These articles remind me of a photograph in an article in the Telegraph eight years ago about the Discovery cruise ship, operated by Discover the World cruise line, which reportedly confronted a Somali speedboat as the ship sailed from Mombasa towards the Seychelles Islands. The ship was equipped with “rolls of razor wire all over the stern rail (and) bundles of logs to be released to fall on any craft attaching itself to our hull.”
Look at the photo closely and you will notice barb wire and logs tied below the rails as well as a bundle of logs hoisted near the starboard/stern, positioned to be dropped on any skiffs which approach the cruise ship.
You can see “vessel hardening tactics” by a security firm here.
Barb wire, water cannons and sonic devices may work against pirates, but I would be more concerned with Houthi rebel missiles while attempting to pass Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb . . .
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