TikTok user Horatio Hedgehog went viral on the app earlier this week when they began documenting their experience on the world’s only ocean liner still in service from the perspective of a stuffed hedgehog named Horatio.
A series of videos shows both the stuffed toy and the unnamed passenger behind the camera taking part in the QM 2’s “pirate drill” protocol as the ship set sail through the Suez Canal.
The first clip, which was posted on Friday, 20 January, showed a letter signed by the captain informing passengers about a pirate drill taking place the next day. “Pirate drill tomorrow as we enter the Suez Canal,” said the person recording the video. “Don’t panic. Captain Mannering.”
Another video, which received more than 4 million views, shows passengers sitting in the ship’s hallway, with the on-screen video text that reads: “On QM2 about to enter the Suez Canal. Trying not to panic.”
In the viral video, the stuffed hedgehog is seated next to a woman in the hallway, while an announcement from the ship’s public address system says: “We will be operating at a higher level of security alertness. Queen Mary 2 will be routed through an internationally recommended transit corridor and will be under the protection of an international task force assigned by United Nations mandate to protect merchant ships from a piracy threat.”
“We have also embarked a United Kingdom Royal Navy Liaison officer on board who will assist us during the transit and is in contact with coalition naval assistance if required.”
“The fact that actual pirates exist will never not blow my mind,” commented one viewer.
“Literally forgot there are actually legitimate pirates out there, like it’s not some fantasy thing they do exist…” said someone else.
According to the Shipping and Freight Resource, there were 58 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships from January to June 2022. The ICC’s International Maritime Bureau reported that of these attacks, 96 per cent of them happened with passengers on board. Over 25 per cent of all incidents occurred in the Singapore Straits.
The Queen Mary 2, also known as the QM2, is the only British transatlantic ocean liner still in service as of 2022. Built by Alglo-American shipping firm Cunard Line as a successor to the Queen Elizabeth 2, its maiden voyage was in 2004.
The ship remains the biggest, fastest and most expensive ocean liner ever made. At 151,200 tonnes, the QM2 accommodates 2,620 passengers and 1,253 crew. It cost £460m to build and has a max speed of over 30 knots.
An ocean liner differs from a cruise ship because it undertakes a voyage between point A and point B across a large expanse of open ocean, while cruise ships typically sail round-trip voyages between ports.