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Cruise ship uses gunfire to stop pirates

The crew of an Italian cruise ship fired upon Somali pirates Saturday when the pirates attempted to attack, CNN reported.

The cruise ship, which had 1,500 people onboard, was attacked by six Somali pirates in a speedboat, Italy's ANSA news agency said. The security crew defended the ship by firing back on the Somalis, causing them to flee.

"It was an emergency operation," the cruise ship company's director, Domenico Pellegrino, told the Associated Press. "They didn't expect such a quick response. They were surprised."

The cruise ship is owned by an Italian company and was returning to Italy after a cruise, ANSA reported. The attack occured about 180 miles north of the Seychelles. No one was injured.

Piracy is common off the coasts of Somalia, Kenya and the Gulf of Aden, an area that spans more than 1.1 million square miles.

Yahoo News said some analysts are predicting that the use of weapons could escalate violence around the Horn of Africa, where 100 ships were attacked by Somali ships last year.