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Posts Tagged ‘Gulf of Aden’

Christian Colombo, a former French Navy sailor and his wife were on their way to fulfil their dream. They were sailing to see the world in their yacht, the S/Y TRIBAL KAT until this dream was destroyed in the most traumatic way.

The TRIBAL KAT was attacked by Somali suspect criminals off the coast of Yemen while passing through the Gulf of Aden. Christian Colombo was killed during the attack, his body thrown overboard and his wife taken against her will by the suspect criminals. She was being moved by skiff towards Somalia when by a combination of good fortune, considering the vast area to be searched, and close cooperation between the counter-piracy forces in the region, a complex and dangerous rescue operation succeeded in recovering Mrs. Colombo uninjured.

The S/Y TRIBAL KAT was only the most recent of about 10 yachts attacked and their crews captured by Somali suspected pirates in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean in the past three years.

Nearly every recorded attack on a yacht has led to the crew being taken hostage and moved to Somalia where they were kept on land, their yachts being discarded. S/Y ROCKALL was completely stripped of everything onboard including the engine.

pirates-being-towed-UPI

PHOTO: Somali Pirates being towed. UPI

On land, the level of risk and hardship on the hostages is increased. They are removed from their familiar environment and exposed to a rough country with a harsh, hot climate. Often, hostages are held in the most basic conditions, i.e. no electricity, no sanitary installations, rationed basic food and water. Pirates have frequently moved hostages at short notice to avoid detection, increasing the stress and strain for the hostages.

The ordeal hostages have to endure can include every form of abuse. Physical and psychological mistreatment can include physical violence and mock executions. In some cases, crews and families have been separated for extended periods of time exposing hostages to the stress of uncertainty on the fate of their partner or child. When hostages were separated, pirates have simulated killing one or more of the hostages with machine gun fire out of sight of the remainder to increase the pressure for a ransom to be paid; the hostages are assumed to be very rich and the ransom demands can be for millions of dollars.

On average, maritime hostages have been held for over 7 months. However, for Paul and Rachel Chandler from the S/Y LYNN RIVAL, their captivity lasted 388 days in the Somali bush. They were eventually released after payment of a ransom however others are not so fortunate; French yacht-owner, husband and father, Florent Lemacon, was killed in April 2009 during the liberation of the S/Y TANIT. In February 2011, pirates shot and killed four Americans aboard the S/Y QUEST off the coast of Somalia when U.S. naval forces were trying to negotiate their release.

(Read about the kidnapping of the crew of the Quest).

S/V Tanit

PHOTO: Sailing Yacht Tanit

The presence of warships from EUNAVFOR, NATO and the Coalition Maritime Force, in addition to other naval forces, in the Gulf of Aden has significantly reduced the success of piracy attacks in this area. However, there remains a serious and increasing threat from piracy from the southern Red Sea, through the Bab el-Mandeb to the Gulf of Aden, off the coast of Somalia and into the Indian Ocean. This area is the same size as Western Europe and there are only between 12 and 18 warships in the area, with far higher priority tasking than protection of yachts and their crews, so if attacked, the chance of release is remote.

sv_quest

PHOTO: S/V Quest, courtesy of svquest.com

The risks to yachts from pirates are significant – they operate from one or more small skiffs, able to reach up to 25 knots. Increasingly, pirates use small arms fire and Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs) to stop and board vessels. Attacks have taken place mostly during the day, but pirates have also attacked at night. Pirates are likely to be aggressive, highly agitated, and possibly under the influence of drugs, (including khat, an amphetamine like stimulant).

pirate-attach-zone

PHOTO: Pirate attack zone

Yachts cannot out-run the pirates and are unable to prevent boarding. Merchant ships, which have higher freeboards and can adopt the self-protection measures recommended in the fourth edition of “Best Management Practices for Protection against Somalia Based Piracy” (BMP) improve their chances but even these only delay a determined pirate.

There is only one sure way of avoiding your yacht and crew being captured – freight the yacht across the high-risk area.

Otherwise you could be playing Russian Roulette with your crew and family.

Source: Maritime Executive Magazine Online

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Global Piracy Report Released

Both the commercial maritime world and the yachting cruiser are on high alert for piracy in the Indian Ocean after the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) global piracy report  was released last week.

gulf-of-aden-normaneinstein

Map showing the location of the Gulf of Aden, located between Yemen and Somalia. Nearby bodies of water include the Indian Ocean, Red Sea, Arabian Sea, and the Bab-el-Mandeb strait. By Norman Einstein

No Surprise

The report revealed that there has been a sharp rise in piracy world-wide, driven by a surge in piracy off the coast of Somalia, where 97 attacks were recorded in the first quarter of 2011, up from 35 in the same period last year. Violence has also increased worldwide in the first quarter of 2011; 18 vessels were hijacked, 344 crew members were taken hostage, and six were kidnapped, IMB reported. A further 45 vessels were boarded, and 45 more reported being fired upon.

‘Figures for piracy and armed robbery at sea in the past three months are higher than we’ve ever recorded in the first quarter of any past year,’ said Pottengal Mukundan, Director of IMB, whose Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) has monitored piracy worldwide since 1991.

Still, only five of that total have involved yachts or other cruising vessels, up from two during the same time frame in 2008. However, Cyrus Mody, the organization’s manager, says the figures for yachts are incomplete, and are simply too small to make reliable comparisons. The group maintains a piracy reporting center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre is the only manned centre to receive reports of pirate attacks 24 hours a day from across the globe. IMB strongly urges all shipmasters and owners to report all actual, attempted and suspected piracy and armed robbery incidents to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre.

Immediate Action Needed to Stop Piracy Off Somalia

May 26, 2011. In a call for immediate action on piracy, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) urged governments to take action against the increasing number of pirate attacks occurring off the Somali coast. The Call for Action was launched at the annual International Transport Forum taking place in Leipzig, Germany from 25-27 May.

Despite measures taken by the United Nations Security Council and the presence of naval units in the area of the Gulf of Aden, pirates continue to strike. More and more commercial shipowners have had to resort to using private security firms to protect their seafarers and ships.

In 2010, the One Earth Foundation estimated the economic cost of piracy on the supply chain to be between US$7-12 billion.

“This is of great concern to any industry having to navigate through the Gulf of Aden to deliver goods by water,” ICC said.

Prepared by the ICC Commission on Transport and Logistics, the call for action said: “As the World Business Organization, ICC urges governments to recognize that piracy, in addition to its effect on the safety of seafarers, has an important financial impact on global trade and shipping, and furthermore poses increased threat on the stability and security of energy supply lines not only for major industrial nations.”

ICC called on governments to improve the rules of engagement given to the navies present in the area, and refocus the efforts of the UN and other international bodies to ensure that pirates are brought to justice and that required institutions in central Somalia are established to maintain economic and social standards.

Together with shipowners and trade associations around the world, over 20 CEOs from key shipping and trading companies have endorsed the ICC Call for Action on Piracy.

Help is coming – but slowly

International organizations are urging governments to enforce maritime laws more aggressively. The U.S. Navy and Coast Guard have been training some third world maritime forces in how to deal with attacks against yachts. And companies are adapting new technology – such as drone aircraft – that might someday help.

Cruisers Have SSCA In Their Corner

In the wake of the murder of four Americans aboard the sailing vessel Quest, the Seven Seas Cruising Association has released a statement pushing for a “Call to Action” by the U.S. and other world leaders to stop piracy on the seas.

The statement outlines a number of steps that should be taken to stop the growth of piracy in both Somalia and other dangerous areas of the world. Perhaps the most controversial is the recommendation that nations of the world execute an agreement “to immediately stop all current and future payment of ransoms to pirates for the release of individuals or vessels, and publish this fact far and wide.”

The rationale:

This is a particularly painful, yet absolutely vital step. It is highly likely that ruthless and desperate pirates will test our will and resolve in this matter, and they have stated that they will kill hostages if rescue attempts are made or ransoms are not paid. While we deeply regret any loss of life, more ransom money paid means that even more lives will be lost, and the pirates will grow ever stronger. It is absolutely necessary to break the current business model where piracy provides a fast path to great wealth. Ransom money equals increased piracy, escalating costs, more hostages and greater loss of life.

Other recommendations include:

  1. Implement a policy to quickly and aggressively rescue hostages from pirate control.
  2. Immediately take whatever actions are necessary to protect the lives and vessels, both commercial and private, which are currently vulnerable to pirate attacks as they attempt to reach the Red Sea and the Suez Canal.
  3. Work through the United Nations to establish a multi-national naval quarantine of the Somali coast that forbids armaments aboard Somali vessels, authorizes the boarding and search of any vessel operating in the quarantined area and authorizes the seizure of any armaments found on Somali vessels.
  4. Focus anti-piracy efforts on the sources of piracy.

We strongly recommend you read and share this statement: http://ssca.org/downloads/SSCA_Call_to_Action_2_Mar_11.pdf. Let us know what you think of it in the comments.

What You Can Do

The IMB’s Mody and other experts point to several precautions that boaters can take to minimize the risks that they’ll encounter pirates on a circumnavigation or extended passage. Even little precautions can make a big difference.

1. Route your cruise carefully to avoid the most pirate-infested waters whenever possible. The IMB and several other groups list specific areas where piracy occurs most often. Besides Somalia, the waters off Venezuela top the list, along with Colombia, much of Central America, parts of the Caribbean, the Cape Verde islands, the Philippines, Eastern Malaysia and the reef-laden Malacca Strait, which links the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean. The State Department’s website also contains a list of warnings. about piracy.

2. Do your research! Learn as much as you can about pirates and how they operate. Check out the list below for a list of websites on Piracy expressly for cruisers.

3. Before you start out, make sure that you and your crew have a plan on how to deal with piracy attacks so that no one makes a rash move that could endanger lives. This includes knowing where emergency equipment is, how to get help and how to respond if you’re boarded. (Most experts advise crews to go along with attackers rather than fight.)

4. File a Float Plan with friends and relatives. Some “experts” recommend filing that with local governments, but in my experience local governments can be corrupt, especially in poorer countries. I’ve personally known cruisers who were set up by local officials in Columbia, Mexico and Central America.

5. Compile a list of telephone numbers and radio channels you’ll need to contact local authorities and, in some cases, let them know in advance when you’ll be transiting and what route you plan to take.

6. And Most Importantly, try to arrange to go in convoys with other boats when you sail through pirate-infested waters, and develop a plan for communicating with one another, getting help and what to do when your convoy is attacked. To make a convoy work, you’ll have to team up with boats that can make the same speed that your boat can, so you can all stick together. Use AIS to call one another rather than hailing over the VHF where everyone can hear you.

7. Sail at night. Many authorities suggest that you sail through pirate-infested waters at night – preferably when it’s cloudy and there’s no moon to make you easily visible. Turn off all lights – both interior lights and running lights – so it’s harder for pirate crews to see you (and keep a careful watch for traffic). Keep your engine noise to a minimum. And shut down unnecessary electronic devices.

Set a lookout at all times – even when you’re at anchor – and assign someone to monitor VHF-FM and single-sideband radios for warnings of pirate activity. Pirates usually use speedboats and frequently attack in early morning or late afternoon when they can use the sun to their advantage. If you have a sailboat or a vessel with low freeboard, you’re an especially inviting target.

Pirates don’t wear distinguishing clothing, but there are some signs and characteristics that should make you wary. Attacking vessels are usually small skiffs or speedboats, carrying two or three crew members.

Rule of Thumb: If you don’t see nets in or around the boat and sea birds aren’t flying around, they aren’t fishermen.

live-piracy-map_icc-ccs-org

Image courtesy of icc-ccs.org

Piracy Resources:

Seven Seas Cruising Association
www.ssca.org

Noonsite – Piracy
www.noonsite.com

Caribbean Safety & Security Net (CSSN)

http://www.safetyandsecuritynet.com/

Yacht Piracy (Klaus Hympendahl)
http://www.yachtpiracy.org/en/dangerous_regions.htm

The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) – Piracy Reports
http://www.sailing.org/1382.php

Live Piracy Map from ICC
Live Piracy Map Link

Note: The main aim of the PRC is to raise awareness within the shipping industry, which includes the shipmaster, ship-owner, insurance companies, traders, etc, of the areas of high risk associated with piratical attacks or specific ports and anchorages associated with armed robberies on board ships. This site is not directed towards piracy against private yachts.

IMB Piracy Reporting Centre

If you wish to report an piratical incident or armed robbery please contact the 24-hour Piracy Reporting Centre:

Tel: + 60 3 2078 5763
Fax: + 60 3 2078 5769
Telex:  MA34199 IMBPCI
E-mail: imbk l@ icc-ccs.org /attrpiracy @ icc-ccs.org
24 Hours Anti Piracy HELPLINE Tel: + 60 3 2031 0014

Please Stay Safe Out There and Fairwinds!

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This past month there was both good news and bad from the top cruising and sailing rally organizers.

First the bad news…

After the horrible tragedy at the hands of Somalian pirates that took the lives of four Blue Water Rally participants, rally organizers released the following statement:

“It is with great regret that Blue Water Rallies Limited announces that the Company will cease trading in its current form on 30 April 2011 at the end of its current Round the World Rally. Since its formation in 1997, Blue Water Rallies have organised eight world rallies and take great pride in having enabled over 200 owners and hundreds of crew members to realise their dream of a circumnavigation.  The current economic downturn and a dramatic rise in piracy in the Indian Ocean (which shows little prospect of resolution) however, have led us to make this disappointing, but we feel realistic, decision.”

bluewaterrally-banner

As a result, BWR has canceled their 2011-2013 Round-the-World Rally “owing to insufficient entries.”

In the aftermath of the killings aboard the sailing yacht Quest in mid-February and more recently, the taking hostage of seven Danes, including three children, after hijacking their yacht ING off the Somali coast, the Rally Organizers approached Dockwise Yacht Transport seeking an alternative for participants to safely cross the Red Sea and Indian Ocean.

As was stated in a press release issued on March 12, “These incidents and other recent acts of piracy in the area have made proceeding in any direction from Salalah too high-risk for the vast majority of participants. Strong recommendations from The UK Maritime Trade Organisation and The Maritime Liaison Office were decisive factors.”

As a result, Dockwise Yacht Transport (DYT) orchestrated the transport of 20 private cruising yachts from Salalah, Oman to Marmaris, Turkey.  Dockwise is best known for its fleet of semi-submersible “float-on/float-off” yacht carriers, also coordinates lift-on/lift-off arrangements with third-party carriers, and logistically can fulfill almost any request, even if it is driven by unfortunate circumstances.

“Due to increased piracy, cruising sailors are altering their plans for getting from southeastern Asia to the Mediterranean,” said DYT President Clemens van der Werf.  “By virtue of their independent and adventurous nature, some of these sailors had not previously thought about shipping as an alternative, but they are thinking differently now.  Dockwise is committed to assisting them in all phases of learning about the process and then implementing a plan so they can ship to designated ports rather than travel through dangerous waters on their own.”

DYT-yachtexpress

DYT's "Yacht Express" underway. Courtesy of DYT.

Dockwise Yacht Transport has been working one-on-one with owners, captains and crews to ensure safe and efficient passages by way of shipping.  “We will do all we can to help sailors meet their needs, utilizing extensive shipping routes and schedules used by our own Dockwise vessels as well as our alliances with heavy-lift operators around the world.”

And now for some good news!

Despite the piracy issues in the Red Sea,  cruisers appear not to have been deterred from setting sail elsewhere on bluewater adventures.

The UK-based World Cruising Club, organizer of the  ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers), say the 2011 event has been booked out well ahead of the official cut-off date.

“The WCC has just experienced the busiest January ever for enquiries and entries,” they said.

“Enthusiasm to join sailing rallies, whether as a boat owner or crew, continues to grow.”

ARC-world2012The World ARC will become an annual event from 2014

The Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, an annual transatlantic rally, starts each November in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and has now become the most popular way to cross the Atlantic. Every year the ARC brings together over 200 yachts from all over the world. The Caribbean destination is Rodney Bay in St Lucia, one of the most beautiful islands in the Lesser Antilles. The 2700nm passage on the NE tradewind route takes on average between 14 and 21 days.

Conceived as a friendly race for cruising yachts to make the Atlantic crossing both safer and more enjoyable, participating yachts must carry a range of safety equipment including a liferaft, EPIRB and VHF radio. Daily radio nets contribute further to the safety of participants. The presence of experienced sailors is another incentive for those with little offshore experience.

According to the rally’s website, “ARC 2011 will have a record-breaking 25 multihulls on the start line, including 21m Barreau 71 Stadium (FRA), and catamarans from Lagoon, Gunboat, Catana, Privilege and Outremer.  New Gunboat 66 Phaedo (USA) has been attracting a lot of coverage in sailing magazines around the world, and is sure to be an eye-catcher in the Vela Latina! 

The oldest boat entered so far is Cruinneag III (GBR), a Campbells & Dickies ketch built in 1936, and we’ll have lots of brand spanking new boats, including Discovery 55 Brizo (GBR).   38 boats to date are less than 40ft (12.2m) long, and the smallest is Sigma 33 Sibilation (GBR).”

In other world cruising news:

pirate expansion map

An informal convoy of 10 yachts who banded together to sail from Thailand to Turkey has arrived safely in Aden without experiencing any issues – but that doesn’t mean that the region can be traversed without risk of piracy attack.

The European Union Naval Force taskforce set up to combat piracy reports that while piracy activity has been much less during the last few weeks, this is probably mainly to the weather, and it is expected to increase again once this eases.

The organiser of the Thailand to Turkey informal convoy told noonsite.com that the 10-vessel fleet had had a trouble-free run to Aden, although the turmoil in Yemen had been apparent during a stopover.

“The convoy went well. No major problems, apart from some fishing nets and engine hick-ups, no encounteres with any other but fishing boats and friendly people,” convoy organiser Rene Tiemessen said.

“Mukallah proved a useful stopover to sleep and rest although the internal turmoil in Yemen was felt dearly. A demonstration went on, streets were not very busy and we had a police escort going for dinner in the evening. Nevertheless, it was a nice stop.

“The last part to Aden was a quiet one. Yes, a lot of conversations on the VHF about piracy and coalition forces but nothing disturbing.”

From MySailing.com.au.

Some important resource links for Cruisers Safety & Security:

redwheel iconredwheel iconThe UK Maritime Trade Organisation (UKMTO) (http://www.mschoa.org/Links/Pages/UKMTO.aspx) in Dubai is the primary point of contact for liaison with military forces in the region.

redwheel iconThe Maritime Liaison Office (MARLO)  (http://www.cusnc.navy.mil/marlo/) US Navy Bahrain, is a secondary point of contact after UKMTO in the region.

redwheel iconThe Red Sea of Cape of Good Hope Route?  http://www.cruiserlog.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=12338

redwheel iconNoonsite.com  http://www.noonsite.com/

redwheel iconU.S. State Department Warnings  http://www.travel.state.gov/

redwheel iconCanadian Travel Warnings and Info  http://www.voyage.gc.ca/index-eng.asp

redwheel iconWomen & Cruising – Resources  http://www.womenandcruising.com/resources.htm

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gulf-of-aden-normaneinstein

Map showing the location of the Gulf of Aden, located between Yemen and Somalia. Nearby bodies of water include the Indian Ocean, Red Sea, Arabian Sea, and the Bab-el-Mandeb strait. By Norman Einstein

Here are some links to blog and stories of cruising yachts that have made recent voyages through the pirate-infested waters of the Gulf of Aden:

S/V CONVERGENCE: Sailing the Med! Randy Repass (West Marine)

Pirate Attacks Force Leisure Sailors to Change Course

Noonsite.com – Piracy pages

Thanks to Nancy Zapf (S/V Halekai) for these useful links.

More links to safe passages through Pirate Alley

Pirate Alley Part 1: S/V Feel Free, By Tom Morkin

Successful Transit Through Pirate Alley: S/V Magnum

Aden, Yemen: Sailing Leander

barnstorm_morkin

S/V Barnstorm, which went through the Gulf of Aden in March of 2007.

In other news…

Bill (S/V Bebe) wrote this post on the Cruisers Forum.com:

“I am currently researching UN Resolutions and actions regarding the resolutions that have to do with Piracy.

The UN passed unanimously Security Council Resolution 1851 in Dec 2008 which was submitted by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. It authorized all countries to engage in operations defeating piracy and armed robbery off Somalia’s coast by deploying and using land operations, naval vessels and military aircraft, and through seizure and disposition of boats and arms used in the commission of those crimes.

On April 27, 2010, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1918 was adopted unanimously after recalling resolutions 1814 (2008), 1816 (2008), 1838 (2008), 1844 (2008), 1846 (2008), 1851 (2008) and 1897 (2008) on Somalia. The Council’s resolution called on countries to criminalize piracy within their national laws. Resolution 1918 simply called on countries to write new criminal laws regarding piracy.

We went from a resolution that authorized and invited military force to root out piracy to a new resolution that calls on countries to write new laws to criminalize piracy...the change also recalled the first resolution #1851.

Makes no sense to me. What am I missing here? Any legal eagles out there?”

Best,
Bill, s/v BeBe

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With the tragic loss of life this past week in the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin, the discussion has turned once again to the question of whether cruising sailors can depend on the U.S. Navy for protection in hopes of preventing another tragedy. Perhaps cruising sailors will unite in support of one another to urge the Military to be more pro-active.

Recapping the Story:

On Friday, February 18th, Jean Adam, a retired dentist, and Scott Adam, 68, a retired filmmaker from California, as well as crewmates Phyllis Mackay, from San Francisco, and Bob Riggle, 67, a retired veterinarian from Seattle, were seized by Somali pirates while sailing on the vessel The Quest. The Adams, Mackay and Riggle had been traveling with yachts participating in the Blue Water Rally since their departure from Phuket, Thailand, rally organizers said Sunday on the event’s website. The group, which organizes long-distance group cruises, said the Quest broke off on February 15 after leaving Mumbai, India, to continue on their circumnavigation alone.

The couple, along with their crew, were all found dead from gunshot wounds aboard the Quest by U.S. forces early Tuesday morning. (Read prior post).

The yacht was being shadowed by the military after pirates took the ship off the coast of Oman on Friday.

bwr-at-kochi

BWR at the new Kochi International Marina. From BWR.com

A statement from Blue Water Rallies on Tuesday called the four “brave adventurers. “We at Blue Water Rallies are stunned and devastated by the news of the loss of four friends who have had their innocent lives taken away from them by the pirate menace which is plaguing the Indian Ocean,” it said.

U.S. President Barack Obama was notified early Tuesday of the deaths, White House spokesman Jay Carney said. Obama had a briefing on the situation over the weekend and authorized the use of force against the pirates in the event of an imminent threat to the Americans’ safety, he said.

The United States “strongly condemns the murder of four U.S. citizens,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement, adding, “This deplorable act firmly underscores the need for continued international progress toward confronting the shared security challenge posed by piracy in the waters off the Horn of Africa.”

What can be done:

pirates-being-towed-UPI

Somali Pirates being towed.UPI

One must look into the justification for sailors choosing to sail across the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea instead of other options.

Blue Water Rallies responded with this statement:

‘Although yachtsmen have been discouraged from sailing through this area for some time, it is a hard decision when the only other choices are to sail around the stormy, dangerous seas off South Africa, leave the yacht in the Far East, put it on an expensive cargo ship, or to sail back across the Pacific which presents more weather challenges and difficulties. When one has set one’s heart on a circumnavigation, these choices are very difficult to make.’

To load a yacht like the SY QUEST on a cargo ship and to bring it to the Mediterranean from the Maldives – whereby such cargo vessel then could be protected by the navies – would have costed the owner e.g. of SY QUEST exactly US$37,700  – an amount most yacht-owners simply can not afford, because the majority of them are not the rich. But that wrong picture is then believed by the readers of glossy magazines as well as Somali sea-bandits. The only other alternative for a safe transit would be to hire a private security escort – an undertaking, which could prove to be even more costly.”

Serious questions have come up and it hast been asked, if the navies do work in cohorts with business interests of the shipping industry or private security companies and just how much is the United States willing to do in order to protect it’s citizens who sail into these most troubled waters?

An article that recently appeared on the online news site International.to wrote:

“Currently many yachts are waiting for a safe opportunity to do the passage from the Indian Ocean into the Mediterranean Sea through the Gulf of Aden, termed now the “pirate alley”, because the navies have persistently refused to safeguard or escort these ships.

Rene Tiemessen, leader of one of the convoys consisting mostly of American and European yachts attempting to reach their home countries from Asia hopes the latest hijacking will cause ‘all politicians to wake up and see what has become of their doing nothing to protect us.’ After his words had been proven true, he told Sail-World.Com by satellite: ‘Although very very sad, this is what we have been warning about all the time.’ He added that ‘people felt abandoned’, since the yachting community, as opposed to merchant seamen, ‘have been neglected.’

Rene and Edith Tiemessen, sailing with their two-year-old child on Alondra, are leading a convoy of around 30 yachts from Thailand to Turkey. For months the Tiemessens have begged the UK Navy to give an escort for approximately 250 sailors travelling on about 100 yachts, while they sail the last part of the journey across the Indian Ocean to Salalah in Oman.  They were caught by the developing piracy situation while being on the other side of the Indian Ocean and their simple request to safeguard their voyage home has been consistently refused.

ecoterra-piracy-map

ECOTERRA Intl. and ECOP-marine fully support the rights of free sailors to cross the international oceans and to visit countries and peoples, who welcome them with natural hospitality. It is a shame for all Somalis that criminal gangs now prey on private sailors in non-Somali waters and it is a shame for the so-called international community to not be able to provide protection for convoys of these yachts twice or three times per year.

For further details and regional information see the Somali Marine and Coastal Monitor and the situation map of the PIRACY COASTS OF SOMALIA (2011). See the archive at www.australia.to and news on www.international.to

EMERGENCY HELPLINES: sms or call: +254-719-603-176 / +254-714-747-090

East Africa ILLEGAL FISHING AND WASTE DUMPING HOTLINE:  +254-714-747-090 (confidentiality guaranteed) – email:  office. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it [at]ecoterra.net. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

MEDIAL ASSISTANCE RADIO (MAR) network on 14,332.0 USB every day from 07h30 UTC to 08h00 UTC

ECOTERRA Intl. is an international nature protection and human rights organization, whose Africa offices in Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania also monitor the marine and maritime situation along the East African Indian Ocean coasts as well as the Gulf of Aden. ECOTERRA is working in Somalia since 1986 and does focus in its work against piracy mainly on coastal development, marine protection and pacification. ECOP-marine (www.ecop.info) is an ECOTERRA group committed to fight against all forms of crime on the waters. Both stand firm against illegal fishing as well as against marine overexploitation and pollution.” From http://international.to/.

In a post today to the one of the many world cruising groups online, a member made the following contribution:

“The NATO Shipping Centre has this latest advice for yachts:

‘The danger of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin is high and continues to increase. Naval forces strongly recommend that yachts do not transit this area. Merchant ships use Best Management Practices (BMP) to win time for the naval forces to assist them. With a low freeboard and slow speed, yachts are particularly vulnerable to pirate attack. Any direct response from naval assets will depend on the proximity to the incident and may not occur. ‘BMP3 and the self protection measures described in them were not designed for cruising yachts nor will they be sufficient to prevent boardings by Somali pirates. ‘

This statement was issued 2 Feb 2011. As one can see, the experts also do not believe that yachts are less likely to be targeted by these pirates. It is just chance on a big ocean. Run into the pirates and they will try to capture any vessel.”

Perhaps groups like the Seven Seas Cruising Association, (SSCA) whose members are comprised mostly of cruising sailors, will take up the task and begin using their strength in numbers to lobby the U.S. Government for more protection.

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