Saturday, June 22, 2019

Pirate Drills

On our cruise from Dubai to Venice, we passed through the Straits of Hormuz on our way out of the Persian Gulf into the Arabian Sea.  In order to get to the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba where the ship would make a stop in Jordan, we had to go across the Gulf of Adan, passing between the countries of Yemen and Somalia.

The first night of the cruise, the captain told us that we would be participating in pirate drills as we left Oman to begin this part of our journey.  If he broadcast the message in all cabins, (used usually only in the event of an emergency) saying "Safe Haven" three times, this meant that we had to go somewhere on the ship that had no way of seeing outside, such as a hall, theater, etc.  In addition, the outside decks would be closed with no lighting, and armed guards would patrol continuously for the days that we were between these two countries.  The captain assured us that the pirates usually went after cargo ships since cruise ships were faster and could outrun any danger.  But he warned us if we felt the ship changing directions back and forth very quickly that there might be pirates in the vicinity.

The daily bulletin announced the time that the pirate drill was to be held.  I went to our cabin and stayed in the hall during the drill.  My husband was in the gym and all of the people in the gym and spa and at the pools were sent to the theater.

The next day we had booked an "All Access" tour to see where many of the tasks such as laundry, crew cafeteria, food storage, engine room, and bridge took place.  As we were in the environmental room learning about how waste solids and liquids were handled on the ship, the crew got a pirate drill signal and the heavy doors leading from the environmental area to the outside hall automatically shut.  We continued learning about wastes but it did get very hot in there before the drill was over and we were released.  We have told everyone that we were locked in the garbage room.  There was no smell as the garbage was actually treated on the deck below.  It is amazing that there are several decks under the lowest passenger deck where many of the ship's operations take place.

We traveled through the Gulf of Adan without incident and our first stop there was in the country of Jordan, where we took a tour to see Petra.  You can see the slide show of Petra on the contact page of my website.

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