Fear of pirates made the captain order a ten day blackout for the cruise ship Sea Princess when it was sailing in the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden recently. The ship was carrying 1,900 passengers on 104 day cruise around the world at the time, and they got an unsettling surprise when, for ten days, they had to endure a mandatory dusk-to-dawn blackout for fear of pirate attacks.
“No deck parties, no movies under the stars, no late-night outdoor bar hopping or pool dipping” were just some of the bans included in the blackout ordered by Captain Gennaro Arma. The ship essentially become a ghost, with all curtains drawn and all lights dimmed or turned off. Captain Gennaro Arma wanted to remind his crew and his passengers that the threat of pirates “is real and that the ship must be prepared for a pirate attack.” In addition to the blackout, there were obligatory pirate drills to prepare the crew and passengers in case an actual attack happened. “[The passengers] were advised to sit on the floor and to hang on to hand rails in case the ship had to manoeuvre away from pirate ships. In the case of a real threat, those passengers in outside cabins were told to close and lock their balcony doors, then lock their entrance door to their cabin and take shelter in the corridors.”
The ship was fully equipped with pirate-alluding tools (fire hoses at the ready, officers on watch 24/7, and a sonic boom that could knock pirates off their ladders). In addition, the captain was confident that the ship would be able to outrun the pirates. For those ten days, tensions were rightfully high, but luckily, the ship and its crew never faced any real danger.