Naval forces have renewed warnings that the Somali piracy threat persists and that yachts should avoid the High Risk Area (Southern Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and Western Indian Ocean).
Piracy has not disappeared from the Indian Ocean
This comes in the wake of an attack on a fully laden super tanker by eight armed pirates on Friday 11 October, 230 miles off the Somali coast. This was followed by another incident when a large fishing vessel was approached by two skiffs in a nearby sea area. Both vessels employed self-protection measures and remained safe.
Stuart Carruthers Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Cruising Manager 'No one should be in any doubt about the ever present risk of attack by Somali pirates in this area. They know that sailing yachts are vulnerable; a ‘soft’ target. They will exploit any weakness for their own gain. The unstable political and economic situation in Somalia remains unchanged and piracy continues to offer rich rewards.
'Had last week’s attack been a sailing yacht and not a super tanker with protection then it would have been successful and the crew taken hostage for ransom.'
Suspected pirate skiff
Together with other organisations the RYA has met a number of times with naval forces, including NATO and the Combined Maritime Forces to discuss the on-going piracy threat for sailing yachts in the Indian Ocean. Following the last meeting in September a new advisory for yachts was issued: the Somali Piracy Warning for Yachts.
'I recommend that anyone considering making passage through the High Risk Area read the advisory and think hard about the risk they are taking, and then for their own safety and those of their crew and for the well-being of their families and friends, they don’t do it' concludes Stuart.
The Naval Forces are clear that whilst the levels of piracy have dropped over the past 18 months these latest incidents show that the pirates are still able and willing to get out to sea; they only have to be lucky once.