The recent attempt by pirates to seize a cruise ship reminds many seasoned cruisers of similar incidents involving terrorists during the 20th Century.On October 7, 1985 the Achille Lauro was employed on a ten-day cruise. She was supposed to call at Alexandria in order to allow passengers to go to Cairo, and then rejoining the ship at Port Said. Only about half of the passengers went ashore, while the rest stayed on board to enjoy the ship. During the trip from Alexandria to Port Said, the ship was taken hostage by five Palestinian terrorists. This was the first time in history a passenger ship was hijacked like this. The terrorists showed their seriousness – and madness – when they killed the disabled American tourist Leon Klinghoffer, and threw him and his wheelchair overboard.
The Achille Lauro was hijacked in 1985.
The Egyptian authorities gave the hijackers permission to leave the area without harassment, and the Achille Lauro soon arrived at Port Said. The hijackers left the ship onto a tugboat and made a victory lap around the harbor. They left victorious in an aeroplane, but the American authorities would not accept this and forced the plane down over Sicily. The Egyptian government retained the liner in retaliation. Yet again, the Achille Lauro suffered the repercussions of a crisis that had a great effect on American-Egyptian relations. Eight days later, the Achille Lauro returned to her home port. [Read more...]