Ever since we left India we have been travelling in what has been identified as “high risk” seas. In the last ten years there have been a number of attacks on ships from pirates out of Somalia. From a high of more than 200 attacks annually to last year when there were only a handful, ships need to take additional precautions when transiting this region. The Amsterdam is no exception.
We are now travelling between Somalia and Yemen. The ship has now been rigged with high pressure water hoses every 20-30 feet along the third floor promenade. The hoses are charged and ready to go. Crew assigned to the hoses lie on their stomachs and direct the water spray along the sides of the ship in order to sweep any potential pirate back into the sea. In addition to the high pressure hoses, a series of high intensity sound generators have now appeared on the upper levels. The highly directional sound generators also act to repel any approaching pirates. Additional security with night visions goggles are patrolling the decks around the clock. Guests are asked to keep all outside windows covered from sundown to sun up and any outside lights are covered including the curtains in the dining room and in the lido (casual dining).
While the risk is considered low the captain is taking all precautions. He noted in a letter to all passengers that while unseen by passengers, we were being shadowed by naval ships from coalition countries. He also added that the best deterrent we had was our speed and therefore through the risk area we would be travelling at our maximum speed of about 25 knots. In a drill for all passengers and crew we had to come out of our cabins, sit on the floor away from any windows while the crew manned the high pressure hoses. Sitting on the floor is necessary as passengers might be toppled if the ship had to make any evasive moves at such a high speed.
We come out of the high risk areas midway up the Red Sea. The greeting on the ship for these days has been……Seen any pirates?
That was pretty exciting! What did they tell you to do if the pirates managed to get on the ship?
Quite the adventure!