Every year there used to be around 250 yachts who used the Gulf of Aden to reach the Mediterranean during a circumnavigation, but no more. A Working Party from the Royal Yachting Association, the Cruising Association; the Royal Yacht Squadron; the Ocean Cruising Club; the Royal Cruising Club and the World Cruising Club have published the following update on piracy in the Indian Ocean as it affects cruising sailors:
Pirates, accosted, suddenly sorry, but only when faced with superior fire power
The Warning Notice, published by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) in July 2011 is still extant and will remain so until ISAF is advised otherwise by EUNAVFOR.
This update is intended for Yacht Skippers who may be considering a passage during 2012 through the Gulf of Aden, its approaches and the Indian Ocean north of 12 degrees south and west of 78 degrees east.
It is the fourth notice to be published on this subject and reflects the situation as at March 2012 and should be read in conjunction with the full Warning Notice (see below).
Yacht skippers should take note that:
· Although the number of successful pirate attacks on merchant shipping in the area covered by the Warning Notice has declined somewhat in the past three months, there is no evidence that the threat to smaller vessels, yachts and fishing boats, has declined.
Members of Al Shabab Islamist terrorist faction - involvement in piracy forecast
· Greater use of firearms in recent months indicates an increase in aggression and risk to all mariners in the area.
The assessment of EUNAVFOR, NATO Shipping Centre and UKMTO concludes unmistakably that:
· The threat remains unchanged in terms of the freedom of movement of Pirate Action Groups (PAG’s) in the wider Indian Ocean. The area of high risk has not changed.
· The reduction in the number of successful attacks is explained by greater deployment of Private Armed Security Contractors (PASCs) on Merchant Shipping and increased disruptions by Naval Forces.
· The greater deployment of PASCs increases the threat to sailing yachts. If ships become harder to capture then the PAG’s may well turn to more vulnerable targets such as Yachts.
The advice of the Military remains:
DO NOT SAIL THROUGH THESE WATERS, EVEN IN THE COMPANY OF OTHER YACHTS
For further information please refer to the full text of the July 2011 Warning Notice, published on the cruising sailor's greatest reference guide, http://www.noonsite.com:8000/Noonsite/PDF_Files/Piracy3!Noonsite.