An Italian cruise ship has fought off an attack by pirates off the east African coast.The crew used pistols and a firehose against pirates who tried to board the MSC Melody, which can carry up to 1500 passengers and crew. The ship was slightly damaged in the exchange of fire. The incident happened 320 kilometres north of the Seychelles, and about 960 kilometres off the Somalia coast. Meanwhile, pirates have freed a Yemeni-owned tanker and its 15 crew seized in early January. It is reported a ransom was paid. Another ship was released on Saturday after a ransom reportedly worth 1.4 million euros was paid.