Sailing yachts remain vulnerable to pirate attacks

Piracy alert map
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Roving sailors take note: Intelligence from the NATO Shipping Centre (NSC), the Maritime Security Centre for the Horn of Africa (MSCHOA), UK Maritime and other agencies remains clear; that all sailing yachts should avoid transiting the High Risk Area in the Indian Ocean for the foreseeable future.

The NATO Shipping Centre has reported this week two piracy incidents that took place between 17 October and 23 October in the High Risk Area: one attack and one disruption and there are reports of suspicious activity. The High Risk Area covers the Gulf of Aden, Somali Basin and the western Indian Ocean.

Stuart Carruthers, RYA Cruising Manager 'The possibility of attacks and the successful pirating of sailing vessels remain likely due to their vulnerability. Seafarers should be left in no doubt about the very clear and present danger to recreational and other vessels transiting this area'.

Despite the fact that attacks on merchant vessels appear to have decreased, The Nato Shipping Centre is concerned that a reduction in revenue sources from merchant vessels could make sailing yachts even more desirable. They believe that large groups of yachts rather than acting as a deterrent could be seen as a larger target and a bigger source of income.

They are also concerned that all progress to date in the anti-piracy campaign will be undone if seafarers become complacent or drop their guard.

If, regardless of this advice, you elect to undertake a voyage in the High Risk Area you should:

1. Inform Maritime Security Centre Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) at postmaster@mschoa.org with the subject line 'Yacht Vessel Movement'; and

2. Maintain regular contact with UKMTO Dubai on +971 50552 3215 or email ukmto@eim.ae and MARLO on marlo.bahrain@me.navy.mil or +973 3940 1395 with position updates.

The RYA leads an ISAF working group on piracy that maintains contact with the Maritime Security Centre for the Horn of Africa (MSCHOA, which produces information and advice for blue water sailors; this can be found here.

NATO Shipping Centre (NSC) website is a comprehensive package of advice and daily updates to the merchant shipping industry. However, the PAG Map (continuously updated by watch keepers), the Daily Piracy Overview, as well as the Weekly assessment are all valuable products in order to keep up to date with the current piracy situation.

Maritime Centre of Horn of Africa website
http://www.sail-world.com/103230