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NO SHOTS FIRED AT THE BALMORAL

Tuesday March 10th, 2009
ImageReports that Somali pirates opened fire on the Fred Olsen cruise liner ‘The Balmoral’ have been mixed. UK tabloid newspaper The Sun reported that shots were fired during an attack on the luxury liner in the Gulf Of Arden.
However in a statement issued by Fred Olsen Cruise Lines they say they are absolutely certain that the ship did not come under fire during the incident last week: 'Searchlights were directed at the approaching craft and flares used to indicate that it had been observed… It is possible that this was interpreted as gunfire, but Fred Olsen Cruise Lines can state categorically that there was no gunfire and that although the approaching vessel got to within 400 meters of Balmoral it left the area without incident.”
A previous report from a crewmember had stated that 'People were all over the place and everyone was in tears. We could hear shooting. (The pirates) started following us and we had to call the U.S. Navy… A lot of the passengers were frightened to death.'
However Fred Olsen Cruise Lines state. “The ship's master requested passengers to assemble in 'safe havens' as part of a pre-planned safety procedure. Aggressive manoeuvring was implemented and contact was made with the EU Coalition Task Force.'
According to a passenger interviewed by the Telegraph 'All the passengers were ordered to go and sit down in a safe haven… There was concern but it was all quite civilized.'
All 1,000 British passengers are said to be safe and no delays are expected for the three month cruise that left Dover on February 14th.
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