German cruise line Hapag-Lloyd will evacuate 300 passengers and crew from a ship before its passage through the Gulf of Aden, due to a warning from German authorities of the threat of pirates.
"As long as the situation is uncertain in the area, and as long German authorities have a travel warning issued, we will not cruise through the Gulf of Aden with passengers onboard," Hapag-Lloyd Cruises Managing Director Sebastian Ahrens said in a statement issued Monday.
Hapag-Lloyd said that 200 passengers on the Columbus, traveling from Genoa, Italy to Dubai, will be flown to Dubai from an undisclosed location before the ship passes through the Gulf of Aden. They will be put up in a Dubai hotel and flown to Salalah, Oman, to meet the ship. The cruise is scheduled to end in Dubai on Dec. 17.
For security reasons, Hapag-Lloyd would not reveal where or when the passengers will disembark the Columbus. From that port, the ship will sail the Gulf of Aden with the captain and about 50 crew members onboard, said Hapag-Lloyd.
The evacuation comes after two attempted pirate attacks on cruise ships were thwarted in the Gulf of Aden in the last two weeks.
The 684-passenger Oceania Nautica outran two pirate skiffs that shot at the ship on Nov. 30. A German cruise ship was attacked days before that, when a German naval ship thwarted an attempted attack on the Astor, a Transocean Tours ship, by firing warning shots at the pirates.