Israeli private security guards exchanged fire with pirates who attacked an Italian cruise ship with 1,500 people on board far off the coast of Somalia, the ship's commander said Sunday.
Cmdr. Ciro Pinto told Italian state radio that six men in a small white boat approached the Msc Melody and opened fire Saturday night, but retreated after the Israeli security officers aboard the cruise ship returned fire.
None of the roughly 1,000 passengers and 500 crew members were hurt, Melody owner Msc Cruises said in a statement issued by its German branch.
Domenico Pellegrino, head of the Italian cruise line, said Msc hired the Israelis because they were the best trained security agents, the ANSA news agency reported.