28 Apr 2009

Cruise company to avoid pirate seas

11:58 am on 28 April 2009

The operator of a cruise ship attacked by Somali pirates says the seas around East Africa are now a "no-go zone".

The Italian ship Melody was carrying more than 1500 passengers, including 42 New Zealanders at the time of the attack. Some 74 Australians were also on board.

Security guards repelled the attack with pistols and a fire hose late on Saturday. A passenger and one crew member were slightly injured.

The ship was 960km off the Somali coast.

MSC Cruises chief executive Pierfrancesco Vago told Morning Report the company will no longer sail any cruises in the seas around East Africa because of the risk to passenger safety.

The Melody is now being escorted by a Spanish warship and a helicopter to the port of Aqaba in the Red Sea.