CRUISE LINER BRITONS HIDE UNDER BUNKS TO SURVIVE PIRATE ATTACK
* Why does this story remind me of Melanie Griffith’s in “Bonfire of theVanities” when she grabs Tom Hanks by the balls and tells him “You knowÂ I’mÂ aÂ sucker for a soft dick..?”
TERRIFIED British tourists cowered in their cabins when theirÂ cruiseÂ liner came under fire from gun-wielding Somali pirates.
Guards on board returned fire but the pirates were only repelled when a group of holidaymakers threw tables and chairs as the men climbed ropes up to the deck. The intruders were made to retreat to their own boats.
Passengers were forced to take refuge under their bunks as the gang used two boats to try to hijack the ship Melody on its voyage 180-miles north of the Seychelles in theÂ IndianÂ Ocean.
Most of the media discussion about piracy in the Gulf of Aden has drifted understandably towards the sensational part of the story: how are the pirates able to roam the ocean? Is paying them ransom a better option than engaging them militarily? Last but not least, will a military intervention against the pirates worsen the situation; will it lead to a massive escalation in Somalia and a Vietnam-like quagmire for many years to come?
Among the 1,000 passengers left traumatised by the experience were Maureen and Roy Gawthrop, of Barnsley.
Maureen, 66, said: “We were enjoying a classical concerto on the pool deck when everyone heard a cracking sound. The applause for the musicians died down suddenly and someone came running in from the open deck and shouted ‘Pirates!’.
“Crew members acted quickly to evacuate passengers into their cabins and told them to lock their doors.
“We went to our cabin and we could hear bullets whizzing and clanging as they hit the ship. I looked out of our window. I saw a white speed boat riding alongside on the wake of the ship about 15 yards away.
“There were eight men dressed in green camouflage who turned and fired at us.
“Roy pulled me away from the window in case we got hit. We couldn’t believe it was happening, it was unreal.”
Roy, 66, added: “We later learned what we witnessed was the aftermath of the incident. The pirates had tried to get on board the ship with rope ladders and failed. Israeli security guards travelling on the ship had killed two of them.”