May 23 2009
Feisty British pensioners on a cruise ship bravely fought off machine gun-armed Somali pirates by hurling deckchairs and tables at them.’There were bullet holes in the side of the ship from the pirates’ Kalashnikov rifles.’
The holidaymakers were enjoying a midnight Mozart concert onboard MSC Melody when pirates armed with Kalashnikovs attempted to board it using grappling hooks and ladders. But passengers forced them back to their boats by throwing chairs and tables over the stern of the ship as Israeli security guards onboard the cruise liner fired warning shots.
The ship was a week into a 22-day cruise in the Indian Ocean, 180 miles north of the Seychelles, when it came under attack from pirates in speedboats.
‘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.
‘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.
‘We couldn’t believe it was happening, it was unreal.’
Husband 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 short rope ladders and failed.’
Ian Moakes, 62, from Forest Town, Mansfield, said passengers were terrified as the hijackers began shooting at the ship.
He said: ‘We were told to go to our cabins, lock the doors and not to answer the door to anyone and they would let us know what was happening.
The ship’s captain ordered security guards to fire two warning shots to scare off the attackers, but many of the passengers did not know the full extent of the attack until 36 hours later. UK DAILY MAIL