The Maritime Shipping Centre-Horn of Africa (MSCHOA), NATO Shipping Centre, UK Maritime and Trade Organisation (UKMTO) and MARLO are united in their advice that sailing yachts should avoid transiting the High Risk Area (HRA) in the Indian Ocean for the foreseeable future.
Anti Piracy Chart - the message is: Stay out of these waters!
The HRA is bounded by Suez and the Strait of Hormuz to the north, and 10° S and 78° E (pink shaded area above).
The ending of the southwest monsoon period usually sees a rise in the level of action by Somali pirates. Sailing yachts, and to a lesser degree motoryachts, are seen as easy targets. The maritime bodies warned in their statement that: 'Sailing in large groups is unlikely to be a deterrent – groups of sailing yachts could be seen as a larger target and a bigger source of ransom.'
Despite the fact that attacks on merchant vessels appear to have decreased, the possibility of attacks and the successful pirating of sailing vessels remains likely due to their vulnerability and the reduction of revenue sources from merchant vessels.
To pirate groups, sailing yachts are an easy target and possible source of revenue. Sailing in large groups is unlikely to be a deterrent – groups of sailing yachts could be seen as a larger and more lucrative target.
For this reason the organisations are are restating their advice that sailing yachts should avoid transiting the HRA.
If, regardless of this advice, sailors elect to undertake a voyage in the HRA they should:
1. Inform Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line 'Yacht Vessel Movement'; and
2. Maintain regular contact with UKMTO Dubai on +971 50552 3215 or email email@example.com and MARLO firstname.lastname@example.org or +973 3940 1395 with position updates.
Further guidance can be found on the Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa homepage www.mschoa.org , or on the NATO Shipping Centre homepage www.shipping.nato.int.