Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Somalia’s Environmental Mission thwarted by Israelis

2 to 0 for the Israelis. Isn’t amazing how a little Israeli-type initiative goes such a long way? Ynet News

An Italian cruise ship with 1,500 people on board fended off a pirate attack far off the coast of Somalia when its Israeli private security forces exchanged fire with the bandits and drove them away, the commander said Sunday.

Cmdr. Ciro Pinto told Italian state radio that six men in a small white boat approached the Msc Melody and opened fire Saturday night, but retreated after the Israeli security officers aboard the cruise ship returned fire. "It felt like we were in war," Pinto said. None of the roughly 1,000 passengers and 500 crew members were hurt, Melody owner Msc Cruises said in a statement issued by its German branch. Domenico Pellegrino, head of the Italian cruise line, said Msc hired the Israelis because they were the best trained security agents, the ANSA news agency reported.

(…)Saturday's attack occurred about 200 miles (325 kilometers) north of the Seychelles, and about 500 miles (800 kilometers) east of Somalia, according to the anti-piracy flotilla headquarters of the Maritime Security Center Horn of Africa. Pinto said the pirates fired with automatic weapons, slightly damaging the liner, and tried to put a ladder on board. But he said they were unable to climb aboard.

The commander said his security forces opened fire with pistols and the ANSA news agency said the pistols had been kept in a safe under the joint control of the commander and security chief. Cruise line security work is a popular job for young Israelis who have recently been discharged from mandatory army service, as it is a good chance to save money and travel.
Five hundred miles east of Somalia’s coastline…talk about the long reach of Somalia’s environmental warriors.

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