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MSC Melody

Cruise Ship MSC Melody
Melody
For security reasons don not approach closer than 50 metres unless authorised - sign on cruise ship msc melody which recently thwarted pirate attack near Somalia
MSC Melody

Cruise ship name: MSC Melody
Formerly: Atlantic • Atlantic Starship
Length: 672 ft • 205 m
Year: 1982 • Refurbished: 2001
Builder: CNIM (France)
Operator: MSC Cruises
Gross Tonnage: 35,143 GT
Speed: 18-21 knots
Passengers: 1000-1550
Crew: 500

Photos: monacoeye • Monaco • 2006-2008

The cruise ship MSC Melody, run by Italian operator MSC, successfully fought off a pirate attack in the Indian Ocean on Saturday night, 25th April 2009. According to an AP report, onboard Israeli private security forces thwarted the pirates by returning fire after the ship was attacked with automatic weapons as pirates try to board.

The attack took place about 200 miles north of the Seychelles, as Melody was returning to Genoa from a cruise in South Africa. About 1000 passengers were on board, no-one was hurt although the liner was slightly damaged.

Until now it has been unusual for civilian ships to exchange fire with pirates. Perhaps this marks the start of a new trend of preventative action… MSC Melody is a regular visitor to Port Hercule in Monaco, as can be seen in the above photos, and often displays a large sign: "For Security Reasons Do Not Approach Closer Than 50 Metres Unless Authorised."
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News Roundup

Here's a digest of a few items of news that have caught my eye recently.

Sardinia's luxury tax on yachts may be scrapped. Italy plans to ban yachts from mooring offshore, to protect the marine environment from anchor damage.

Shari Arison, Israel's richest woman, has put My Shanti up for sale, listed at $103 million. My Shanti is in Monaco currently. Thyssen Krupp may be selling Hellenic Shipyards.

The yacht market has taken quite a hit in the credit crunch. Inventories have risen and prices have fallen, but buyers and sellers are still doing business.

Lara was sold by Ardell (BOGOF - buy one get one free). Burgess lopped a whopping $6 million off Multiple's asking price, now $19 m. Gale Winds, a 26m Broward, was sold. Hebridean Spirit, a 90m mini cruiser, was sold by Ocean Independence.

Lone Ranger was donated to a US charitable foundation for oceanographic exploration. There was a $2.5 million price drop for My Issue and 15 more sales in March including Bad Girl, 57m, Casino Royale, 50m and Stanley, the 120 ft Palmer Johnson at IYC.

Armani has dropped the price on Mariu by €4 million to €20 m. The explorer Garfield's price dropped by $4 million to $11 m. Skylge was reduced from €15m to €10. Lady Christina is now for sale at €52 m. All these and many more "bargains" to be found at Malcolm McLean's excellent brokerage news site.

According to Camper & Nicholson's newsletter the number of yachts on sale over 24 metres nearly doubled in 2008, from 1000 to 1750, while yacht prices dropped a fairly modest 15%, those longer on the market moving more in price, with the greatest reductions coming in January 2009.

85m Vibrant Curiosity was launched by Oceanco for German screw manufacturer, Reinhold Würth. Benetti launched 64m Silver Angel and 45m Harmony III. Stabbert is converting 308 ft Sahara.

Royal Huisman has launched Hanuman, the J-class replica of Endeavour II. CMN launched 60m Slipstream. Rodriquez launched Ocean Emerald, the first Yacht Plus fractional ownership yacht, designed by Foster and Partners. Maiora launched 39m Why Worry. Baglietto launched Natori, 41m. Amels launched their fifth LE 171. Feadship launched #667 Hurricane Run, and High Chaparral has been put up for sale.

The world seems to be waking up to the fact that paying multi-million dollar ransoms in the Gulf of Aden is likely to be fuelling piracy by giving pirates the means to buy faster boats and more sophisticated equipment.

On a sad note, 28-year-old Florent Lemacon's dream of sailing around the world with his family ended last week, when he was killed as French forces stormed their 41-foot hijacked sailing yacht Tanit. His wife and child were freed with another couple.

Last September another French couple on board their 48 footer the Carré d'As were freed unharmed in a similar hijack rescue. On that occasion the couple locked themselves into a small room when the boat was stormed - a wise move.

More sad news - in March, a British man Malcolm Robertson was killed in a ghastly attack by pirates off the Thai coast whilst on board with his wife. Their blog details their round the world trip which started in 1998 in Eastbourne.

Meanwhile, things ended well for America's new hero Captain Richard Phillips, who was freed yesterday from his own Somali pirate hostage ordeal. Vice Admiral William Gortney's poignant message to the captain's wife was "Mrs Phillips keep your son away from those Easter eggs, his Dad's headed home."
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Nautica

Nautica Cruise

Cruise ship: Nautica
Operator: Oceania
Length: 594 ft • 181 m
Gross Tonnage: 30,277 GT
Year: 1998
Builder: Chantiers de l'Atlantique
Capacity: 684 passengers
Crew: 386

Photo: monacoeye • Monaco • 2007

Nautica, a frequent visitor to Monaco, is the latest cruise ship to be targeted by pirates in the Gulf of Aden. Nautica used a combination of speed and a pain-inducing long range acoustic device (LRAD) to foil the pirates, who approached in two skiffs and fired shots. The attack only lasted 5 minutes.

BBC

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Tiara - Pirate attack - Corsica

Tiara

Yacht name: Tiara
Length: 178 ft • 54 m
Year: 2004
Builder: Alloy Yachts • # AY30
Naval architect: Dubois Naval Architects
Interior: John Munford Design

Photo: monacoeye • Monaco • 2006

25 August 2008: Pirate attack - Breaking news

Tiara, the 54m luxury sailing yacht, which is available for charter, was boarded by four armed men in the bay of Porto Novo, off Porto Vecchio, in the south of Corsica - last night, 24th August 2008.

The men arrived in an inflatable, armed with guns and other weapons, and quickly overpowered the crew. The attackers left with €138,000 taken from the safe.

The ten crew and nine passengers, who had sailed from Porto Cervo in Sardinia, were reportedly shocked but unhurt.

The pirates then disappeared into the night. French police are investigating …
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Le Ponant - Somali Pirate Attack

Le Ponant
Le Ponant yacht cruise ship

Cruise Yacht Name: Le Ponant
Length: 288 ft • 88 m
Year: 1991
Builder: SFCN - Société Française de Construction Navale
Architect: Michel Bigoin
Design: Joël Bretecher • Stirling Design International
Passengers: 64 • Crew: 32
Operator: Compagnie des Iles du Ponant

Photo: monacoeye • Nice • May 2007
Photo: monacoeye • Monaco Grand Prix • May 2006

Update: 11 April 2008

Sarkozy has announced that the hostages have now been freed !! All are safe, no violence was used, no other details given.

Breaking news 5 April 2008

Three-masted mini cruise ship Le Ponant has been seized by pirates in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia. France is looking into its military options with a regard to releasing the hostages.

No passengers were on board, but thirty crew, mostly French, were taken hostage. 22 of the crew are French, 6 of whom are women. The remaining eight are Ukrainian and Korean.

The yacht was heading back from the Seychelles to the Mediterranean. It is a regular visitor to Nice and Monaco in the summer.

French Prime Minister François Fillon said: "This is a blatant act of piracy. We have significant military resources in the area. We are aiming to bring about the release of the hostages in the coming hours." On Saturday he clarified that the French navy was pursuing the cruise ship and would try to resolve the situation without the use of force.

France already has a military presence in neighbouring Djibouti.

Surveillance aircraft and ships from French-run anti-terrorist unit Task Force 150, part of US Operation Enduring Freedom, have headed towards the area.

Although Le Ponant is the size of a large yacht, it is a small cruise ship, which can accommodate 64 passengers. It is operated by French company La Compagnie de Iles du Ponant, which is part owned by CMA-CGM, and mostly employs French crew.

Le Ponant is one of the few ships to cruise the Indian Ocean.

The coast of Somalia is notorious for pirate attacks. In 2007 a total of 31 piracy incidents were recorded in Somalia, a big jump from the 10 reported in 2006. Pirates held 154 crew hostage in 11 hijackings.

In Nigeria, the other major hotbed of piracy, 42 incidents were reported in 2007, compared to 12 in 2006.

Across the whole world, 263 attacks were recorded in 2007, versus 239 in 2006.

Statistics: ICC CSS

Sunday Update: French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner says France has established contact with the boat and the crew are safe and sound. He says he expects lengthy negotiations and will do everything to avoid bloodshed.

Ransoms paid in the past, in similar situations, are reported to be in the order of half a million to one million dollars.
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Le Ponant

Le Ponant

Cruise Ship: Le Ponant
Length: 88 m
Year: 1991
Design: Michel Bigoin
Builder: SFCN - Société Française de Construction Navale
Passengers: 64 • Crew: 32
Operator: Compagnie des Iles du Ponant

Photo: monacoeye • Nice • May 2007

Le Ponant is the size of large yacht but is really a cruise ship. Often visits Monaco.

Breaking news - 5 April 2008

Three-masted mini cruise ship Le Ponant has been seized by pirates in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia. France is looking into its military options with a regard to releasing the hostages.

No passengers were on board, but thirty crew, mostly French, were taken hostage.

The yacht was heading back from the Seychelles to the Mediterranean. It is a regular visitor to Nice and Monaco in the summer.

French Prime Minister François Fillon said, "it is a blatant act of piracy. We have relatively large military means in this area. We are mobilised to obtain the release of hostages as quickly as posssible."

France already has a military presence in neighbouring Djibouti.

Surveillance aircraft and ships from French-run anti-terrorist unit Task Force 150, part of Operation Enduring Freedom, have headed towards the area.

Although Le Ponant is the size of a large yacht, it can take 64 passengers, and works as a small cruise ship. It is operated by French company La Compagnie de Iles du Ponant, which is part owned by CMA-CGM, and mostly employs French crew.

The ship was designed Michel Bigoin, who also designed Phocea.

Le Ponant is one of few ships to cruise the Indian Ocean. The coast of Somalia is notorious for pirate attacks.
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