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Italian cruise ship thwarts pirate attack

  • Story Highlights
  • Six armed pirates attacked cruise ship Melody in a speedboat
  • Captain of cruise ship ordered security crew to fire back
  • Cruise ship was on its way back to Italy when attack took place
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(CNN) -- The captain of an Italian cruise ship foiled an attack by pirates off the coast of Somalia on Saturday by ordering his security crew to fire back, Italy's ANSA news agency reported.

Six armed pirates in a speedboat attacked the ship, which had about 1,500 people onboard, ANSA said. They fled after the security crew fired back.

The cruise ship Melody, which is owned by an Italian company, was on its way back to Italy after a cruise, ANSA said.

No one was injured in the attack about 180 miles north of the Seychelles.

Piracy is rampant off the coast of Somalia despite the presence of foreign navies. The area hardest hit off the coasts of Somalia and Kenya, including the Gulf of Aden, is more than 1.1 million square miles -- four times the size of the state of Texas.

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