After Saturday’s pirate attack on the cruise ship MSC Melody in the Indian Ocean, owners MSC Cruises have decided to keep well away from the area in future.
Chief executive Pierfrancesco Vago said: “I will never have a ship there again until the area is secure. The area is not safe. We were in an area that was considered to be safe. MSC will no longer take the risk.”
The Melody had already taken a diversionary route to take it away from the Somali coast, but was attacked about 650 miles off Africa and 200 miles north of the Seychelles. After the attack, the cruise ship was taken under escort through the Gulf of Aden to Aqaba.
Next year, MSC Sinfonia will be the company’s vessel sailing from South Africa to Italy, but it will take the west coast route through the Atlantic Ocean and through the Strait of Gibraltar rather than east via the Suez Canal.
It’s about 1,200 miles further, but not only will it keep away from the risk of pirates, but it will also save about £140,000 in the canal fees.
Mr Vago said he was “shaken” by Saturday night’s attack on the Melody, which was carrying almost 1,000 passengers and 500 crew.
Spanish warship Numancia last night intercepted two small speedboats and arrested nine men suspected of being the pirates who attacked the Melody. They have been handed over to authorities in the Seychelles.