Costa Cruises are closely monitoring the weather system in the Gulf of Aden and are assessing options for the cruise ship Costa Victoria, according to a statement from the cruise line.
"Costa Crociere considers the safety of its guests and crew members as a key priority. We are carefully monitoring the local weather situation in the Gulf of Aden and its development," a spokesperson told Cruise Arabia & Africa.
"Currently we are evaluating if necessary to modify the itinerary of Costa Victoria, should any change of itinerary deemed necessary, guests on board will be promptly notified and updated," the line added.
Costa Victoria is on a 27-night re-positioning cruise from Savona, Italy to Port Louis, Mauritius and is one of several dozen ships trapped in the Gulf of Aden by Cyclone Luban. Ships have the unappealing choice of slowing down and waiting out of the storm in the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden, or trying to run from it in the extremely rough open sea.
At the time of writing Costa Victoria was entering the Gulf of Aden from the Red Sea and had increased speed to 20-knots, in an apparent attempt to outrun the storm and reach her next port of call, Salalah.
According to the National Multi-Hazard Early Warning Centre in Muscat, the eye of the storm was 600-kilometres from Salalah on Thursday. It is expected to intensify to a Category 2 cyclone in the next 48 hours.
According to The Weather Channel, Luban is expected to skirt the coast of Oman and make landfall in Yemen. The predicted route the cyclone will take blocks off the entrance of the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean, forcing all maritime traffic to sail through it.
Meteorologists have said winds will build to 74-knots on Friday evening, which is when Costa Victoria is due to be in the storm’s path off Salalah. She is scheduled to make a port call in Salalah on Saturday, October 13th.
Wind speeds of 74-knots are described on the Beaufort Scale as ‘hurricane’ or Force 12. It describes sea conditions as being characterised by “exceptionally high waves… sea is covered with long white patches of foam; everywhere the edges of the wave crests are blown into foam”.
Wave heights will reach up to 8-metres or 26-feet, which is roughly the height of the ship's boat deck from the waterline.