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Gulf of Aden used no longer

Gulf of Aden used no longer
German cruise operator Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten will no longer sail with passenger-carrying vessels through the pirate-plagued Gulf of Aden.

German cruise operator Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten will no longer sail with passenger-carrying vessels through the pirate-plagued Gulf of Aden.

German cruise operator Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten will no longer sail with passenger-carrying vessels through the pirate-plagued Gulf of Aden.

?We will not take passengers through the Gulf of Aden as long the situation remains unchanged and the German department of foreign affairs maintains its travel warning,? said Sebastian Ahrens, managing director of Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten.

Hapag-Lloyd"s Columbus has to pass through the Gulf of Aden on its voyage around the world, however all 246 passengers and most of the crew will be flown tomorrow from Yemen to Dubai. They will then stay the following three days in a five star hotel in Dubai, while the Columbus passes through the pirate-ridden region with only a skeleton crew. On Saturday, the passengers and the crew will be flown to Oman, where they will board the ship again.

?The German government"s refusal to grant the Columbus an escort through the Gulf of Aden has made this step necessary,? said a spokesperson for Hapag-Lloyd. A change of route was not possible at short notice.

?Such a change would have cost us 30 days and would have affected our other cruises as well,? she said. It seems as if paying the hotel and the flights is cheaper, although Hapag-Lloyd refused to give details about the costs involved.

Cruiseship Astor of Transocean Tours attracted the attention of pirates

At the end of November, the cruiseship Astor of Transocean Tours attracted the attention of pirates while sailing through the Gulf of Aden. The frigate Mecklenburg-Vorpommern observed two suspicious speed boats sailing near the Astor and chased them away by firing warning shots. The Astor sails through the region only once a year, said a spokesperson for Transocean Tours. ?It has not yet been decided if we do so in 2009,? he said. Transocean Tours hopes that a stronger naval presence during the European mission ?Atalanta? will improve the situation at the Gulf of Aden.

Operator Deilmann"s Deutschland cruise ship, which is currently cruising near the Seychelles, will also be in the vicinity of the endangered region in February 2009.

?The Deutschland only sails on routes on which potential risk regions can be circumnavigated,? wrote the management in a statement. The ship will keep a distance of 400 miles from the Somali coast as advised by local authorities. Furthermore it will stay in contact with the international naval forces and will use more watchmen on the bridge to keep an eye on the sea.

Tomorrow, the government will take a decision over the German contribution to the EU-anti-piracy mission ?Atalanta?. So far, it has planned to send 1,400 soldiers and one frigate to the Gulf of Aden. The navy will also be allowed to arrest pirates and bring them to trail in Germany, said home secretary Wolfgang Schäuble.

The German navy will be able participate in the EU mission on December 19 at the earliest once the parliament has confirmed the mandate.

www.TurkishMaritime.com.tr

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