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Mar 05,2009
Pirate scare hits cruise ship near Somalia
by UPI

MOGADISHU, Somalia - A cruise line said Thursday that one of its tourism vessels endured a pirate scare while traveling in the Gulf of Aden near Somalia.

A Fred Olsen Cruise Lines spokeswoman informed CNN that the cruise ship Balmoral made emergency calls from the Gulf of Aden Wednesday after suspecting two nearby vessels may be approaching pirates.

The vessels, which were noticed by the cruise ship's radar, had been traveling at high speeds in the general direction of the Balmoral, the unidentified spokeswoman said.

The ship was carrying more than 1,000 British tourists at the time of the pirate scare.

The company said in a statement the ship's crew began maneuvering to avoid the incoming crafts while using searchlights and flares to scare off the suspected pirates.

While one approaching vessel did get within 1,310 feet of the Balmoral, no armed conflict took place before the vessel departed.

CNN said a precautionary alert remained in place until a warship from the EU Coalition Task Force confirmed the vessels had left the area.

© 2009 United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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