|21 September 2011||Posted by Alex from Lagoon under Travel & Cruising world|
Since January 2011 there were 335 piracy attacks in the world. In Somalia only, 188 incidents were registered, with 8 killed and 400 hostages of which 301 are still being held.
In the beginning of September, a sad story came on French television: a catamaran skipper was killed during a piracy attack off the coast of Yemen. This article wants to correct some of the misconceptions some sailors can have when talking about piracy.
Piracy only occurs in the horn of Africa
Unfortunately no: today the most dangerous piracy areas are:
- Gulf of Aden and its area (western Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Somali Basin);
- Malacca strait;
- Bay of Bengal;
- Gulf of Guinea;
- Caribbean sea and especially its South part with the Venezuela.
In fact, we can say that the worst areas are the important commercial shipping routes with the exception of the Caribbean which is a well-known touristic area.
Piracy only occurs at sea
Wrong: at anchorage, thefts of dinghies or electronics exist. Tragic accidents can also happen and the unfortunate story of the Peter Blake murder occurred at an anchorage in Brazil.
Military troops can protect sailing boats
If you consider the gulf of Aden, the area is bigger than the whole Europe. The military forces available to look after the pirates are:
- 5 to 10 surface combat vessels,
-1 to 2 auxiliary ships,
- 2 to 4 maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircrafts.
The number fluctuates according to the monsoon seasons, which have a big impact on the level of piracy. The cost of this Atalanta operation is around 8.05 million euros for 2011. These figures clearly explain why piracy is hard to fight.
Sailing with a group of yacht is a good protection against piracy
According the International Sailing Federation, the convoy strategy developed in 2010 is no more effective in 2011 because pirates had increased their ability to sail far from the coast with mother-ships, to use heavy weapons platoon (rocket-propelled grenade, AK 47…) and to attack larger and larger commercial ships. So a convoy of 20 – 30 sailing boats is not deterrent. More of these convoys are not necessarily protected by military force, which is dedicated in priority to the commercial ships.
So as ISAF says : “Although we recognise that the final decision on whether to enter any area where pirates operate and on how to conduct a vessel in those waters remains the entire responsibility of the master of each vessel, the current advice from the military is simple: Do not sail in the western Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, Somali Basin and Gulf of Aden.”
For those who wants more info:
You can download the ISAF guidelines, wrote in co-operation with the Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa set up by European Union naval force.
Website of the Commercial Crime Services, the anti-crime arm of the International Chamber of Commerce with a live piracy map:
The famous circumnavigator Jimmy Cornell’s website: