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U.S. Navy boards ship after pirate attack

Tourists resume sightseeing in Seychelles

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(CNN) -- U.S. Navy personnel cleared unexploded ordnance from a luxury cruise ship Monday, two days after pirates attacked the vessel off Africa, the U.S. military said.

Passengers were allowed off the Seabourn Cruise Lines' Spirit and went back to scheduled events with a sightseeing tour of the Seychelles, a group of islands in the Indian Ocean.

The 150 passengers had been on board when pirates in two boats armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades attacked the Spirit on Saturday, Deborah Natansohn, president of the cruise line, told CNNRadio. (Watch passengers describe attack -- 1:43)

The 440-foot ship eventually was able to outrun the pirates off the coast of Somalia, Natansohn said, but not before it was hit. (Hear a witness describing the attack -- 2:34)

Members of a Navy explosives ordnance disposal team led by Lt. John Stewart inspected some unexploded munitions and saw where a rocket-propelled grenade round had struck.

"We then made sure that the remnants of the RPG were no longer hazardous to the ship or the passengers," Stewart said in a statement that the U.S. military issued.

The Navy team removed the remains of the ordnance from the ship.

Boarding thwarted

Passenger Mike Rogers of Vancouver, British Columbia, said the pirates had fired rockets and guns at the ship.

"The captain tried to run one of the boats over, but they were small boats, about 25 feet long," he told CNNRadio affiliate CKNW in Vancouver.

"Each one had four or five people on it, and [the captain] said he was going to do anything to keep them from getting on board."

The captain did not hit the alarm button to alert passengers of the emergency, Rogers said. "He announced it over the speakers, because he was scared people would run up on deck, and he didn't want people on deck because they would have been shot," he said.

Natansohn, the cruise line president, said the Spirit's captain immediately instituted emergency-response procedures on the ship, which has a cruising speed of 16 knots.

"The occupants of those boats did not succeed in boarding the ship and eventually turned away. ... Our captain and crew did a terrific job taking responsive action," she said.

One person suffered minor injuries, she said, but did not elaborate.

Passenger Rogers said the ship suffered some minor damage.

"There's no water right now, for instance, in some places, and I believe one of the grenades actually went off in one of the cabins, but everyone on board is fine," he said.

In addition to its passengers, the ship was carrying a crew of about 160.

Route review

On Thursday, the U.N. World Food Program warned that hijackings off Somalia were restricting the delivery of food assistance to the country.

start quoteWe're always looking for adventure, but this is probably a little more than we would normally look for.end quote
-- Deborah Natansohn, Seabourn Cruise Lines

"The southern Somali coastline is one of the most dangerous in the world," the WFP said on its Web site. "In recent months, WFP's operations in Somalia have been sabotaged by the hijackings of two vessels carrying relief food. Ship owners are now demanding armed escorts to travel in these waters."

Natansohn said efforts were under way to locate the pirates. "We have notified U.S., Canadian and Australian authorities, because most of our passengers come from those three countries, as well as local authorities in Africa," she said.

The company will re-evaluate whether to offer future cruises off Somalia, Natansohn said.

"We'll obviously be looking at the incident to determine what to do in the future," she said.

"We're always looking for adventure, but this is probably a little more than we would normally look for."

CNNRadio's Matt Cherry and Amanda Moyer contributed to this report.

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