Somali coast 'not safe', says MSC chief

MSC Cruises will not sail any ships near the Suez Canal following the pirate attack on MSC Melody on Saturday.

Chief executive Pierfrancesco Vago told travelweekly.co.uk he now considers the area "unsafe" and will be sailing ships via West Africa instead.

MSC Melody had already changed its itinerary to take it 700 miles from the Somali coast to avoid the area following guidance from the International Maritime Organization and the Maritime Security Centre for the Horn of Africa.

MSC only operates two ships a year on this itinerary, which sails near the Somali coast.

Vago said: "The area is not safe. We were in an area that was considered to be safe. MSC will no longer take the risk.

"I will never have a ship there again until the area is secure," he added.

Vago confirmed security concerns had prompted the cruiseline to store light weapons in the safe, which is not standard practice for MSC. The pirates attempted to board the ship while firing weapons, but aborted their attack when the ship's security crew fired shots in the air and aimed water hoses at them.

MSC Melody is now sailing with a military escort of the Spanish Navy until it is in the safe corridor at the Horn of Africa.

The ship is continuing its itinerary, which ends on May 7.

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