The Combat Operator has reported that the South African Navy is making plans to patrol and escort ships in the Gulf of Aden, where piracy has been prevalent in recent years.

Cruise travel in the area first became a concern in 2005, after Somali pirates fired upon Seabourn Spirit but failed to hijack the ship.

In April 2008, pirates successfully boarded Le Ponant, a French cruise yacht. The crewmembers and ship were ultimately rescued after a ransom was paid to the pirates. In December, Oceania Cruises’ Nautica became the third cruise liner preyed upon by pirates in the area, though the crew successfully managed to avoid attempts to hijack the ship.

Though cruise ships have been targeted, the pirates tend to focus on large cargo vessels. The problem lies off the coast of eastern Somalia; it is believed that South African officials plan to intervene to prevent the piracy from spreading further down the coast.

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