News Home Photo Gallery Cruising Australia Cruising USA Cruising Canada Boats for Sale Sail-World Racing FishingBoating
Video Gallery Newsletters : Somali pirates - why do they prey on cruising yachts?

Somali pirates - why do they prey on cruising yachts?

'Why pick on cruising sailors when ships should be more lucrative?'    .

Why did Somali pirates suddenly start preying on cruising sailors in comparatively small sailing yachts, which could hardly be expected to yield the kind of ransom that a supertanker could? Here is how Maritime risks expert and founder ofCc-level Maritime Risks, a US-based emerging risks consultancy, Michael Frodl explained it when interviewed by Michael Howorth for AW Yacht Management:

When a new somali pirate gang entered the game in 2009 — capturing a retired British couple aboard their 15m sailing yacht off the Seychelles — they made several mistakes that earned swift contempt from seasoned pirates.

They also changed all the rules for ever.

The first rule they broke was in targeting a yacht belonging to two relatively impoverished people rather than a high value vessel belonging to a corporation.

Secondly, they made the mistake of taking the couple off their sailboat and letting the sloop drift away. 'That broke the rule that hostages must be kept aboard their own ships far from shore in order to prevent their towns being caught up in a rescue mission by a foreign navy,' explains Frodl.

The gang were eventually forced to seek out the help of established pirates by asking them to keep the Chandlers
on board a hijacked cargo ship. But they subsequently took the hostages off again after a dispute over how the final
ransom would be shared out.

This incurred the wrath of the clan elders who feared local villagers would be caught up in a shootout between the pirate gangs — and between all of the pirates and Shabaab (Somalia’s Al Qaeda affiliate). When the new pirates
were kicked out of town they dragged their hostages deeper inland, spending months moving them around the desert in order to avoid Shabaab gangs looking to grab the hostages.

Meanwhile, the global Somali diaspora became so aghast at the mistreatment of the elderly couple that they put pressure on the gang to release them, even collecting money to have the couple released after the first ransom payment of US$500,000 mysteriously disappeared.

Despite all of this, the young pirate gang held out against all the odds for a year — earning around US$1m for
the release of the couple in late 2010.

'Their success will accelerate the transition to a new generation of Somali pirates,' argues Frodl. 'In fact, they created a brand new pirate business model.'

Escalating yacht piracy:
Since the Chandler incident, two South Africans and nine Danish cruising sailors, including three children, have been, and still are, being held by Somali pirates in Somalia, holding out for ransoms which are far from sure to eventuate. Earlier this year four American cruising sailors were shot dead by pirates, some of whom are now undergoing trials in the USA.

For more information about Andrew Weir Yacht Management,

This letter was received by Sail-World Cruising, correcting some of the factual errors in the above:

Message: Hi Nancy,

I'm responding to the account of the Chandler's experience in your latest newsletter. How does the Chandler's 38ft Rival become a 15m boat? Their family paid a ransom of $440,000. Where does your contributor get his figures from? It's true that the Somali gang leader claimed that he would be getting a further $200,000 but that hasn't been confirmed. Lynn Rival ran out of diesel fuel and after being replenished from supplies carried by the pirates the engine started faltering after 5 days and the yacht was abandoned. That was when the Kota Wajar was called in to get them all to the Somalian coast.

Best wishes,

Stuart Bradley

(President of the Cruising Association)

by Michael Howorth, AW Yacht Management/Sail-World


Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

2:49 AM Wed 13 Jul 2011 GMT

Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
Piracy and the Cruising sailor

Related News Stories:

05 Nov 2013  Maritime Anti-piracy - The Captain's Guide Book
17 Jul 2013  Somali Piracy lowest since 2006, but stay away from West Africa
04 Jun 2013  Gulf of Guinea replaces Somalia as most dangerous place to sail
17 Apr 2013  Maritime Anti-Piracy: The Captain's Guidebook
02 Feb 2013  Message to yachties from MSCHOA - Maritime Security Centre Horn Africa
21 Jan 2013  Somali pirate attacks wane, hope for yachts, but not soon
18 Jan 2013  Piracy Report - not a single yacht attacked in 2012
07 Jan 2013  Now Dad's Navy takes charge of pirate prevention
29 Oct 2012  Pirated sailors away on their dream sail
08 Oct 2012  Indian Ocean 'High Risk Area': Sailing yachts urged to stay away

Sail-World Cruising News - local and the World

.... [more]  

Irish student turns a mobile phone into a VHF radio by Niall Murray, Irish Examiner/Sail-World,

'Sailing Adventures in Paradise' by Vincent Bossley by Noonsite Reviewer/Sail-World,

Springtime Greening: Boaters Tips for Earth Day by BoatUS Foundation/Sail-World Cruising,

British rescuers go for their own circumnavigation challenge by Derby Telegraph/Sail-World Cruising,

How sailors really do have a voice in the future of our oceans by Sandra Whitehouse, Sailors for the Sea,

Message-in-a-bottle record - 102 years by AFP/Sail-World Cruising,

Canadian solo sailor rescued north of Auckland by Sail-World Cruising round-up,

RYA Competent Crew Skills – Second edition now available
Why ethanol and boats don’t mix + Video
Check this sailing gear more often during the season
Bluewater open boat weekend - if you are 'starboard' of the Atlantic
Laura Dekker honoured by OCC Award of Merit in New Zealand
Free online fuel spill course - how much do you know?
Smaller but plenty of space: The Nautitech Open 40
Product of the Week: Chafe guards save lines from friction
Government sneaks through the 'Affordable Boat Act'
Japan's Antarctic whaling program harpooned
Yacht of the Week: Kokomo III - and she could be yours
Life-shattering event sends 'rookie' couple sailing the world
Mysteries of the seas, happening right now - missing, sunk, foul play
Sail Norway and Russia this summer - your own boat, or charter
Sunshine4kids' 'Fleet of Hope' sets off again
3,200-year-old boat found in Croatian waters
Product of the Week: the LineGrabber
Mediterranean Mooring - How to moor stern-to to a dock or quay
Canadian storm bomb threat - sailors advised: get off the water!
Carbon monoxide poisoning - is it possible on YOUR boat?
Sailing family condemmed for taking 3-year-old on circumnavigation   
New contract-free plan for satellite communicator on your smart phone   
Yacht of the Week: The Dashew creation: no sails, but eco-friendly   
No laughing! Sailing mistakes I don't want to make   
Multihull Solutions Phuket 2014 Regatta - new sponsorship   
Destination: From Moscow Sea to the White Sea   
Land sailors of India on adventure across the Rann   
Jet stream gets fish in hot water   
Still no plans for e-Borders   
A Paint App to (almost) replace your marine store assistant   
Air warms but water slower - be careful, sailors, of hypothermia   
Volunteer Canadian rescue team homeless - any offers?   
Hilary Lister and Nashwa Al Kindi set a new trans-ocean record   
How to anchor and 'never utter a word'   
Non-pyrotechnic flares for my boat - Can I or can't I?   
Health benefits of sailing   
Cruising in the Maldives - some nuts and bolts   
ISAF Guide to Offshore Personal Safety for Racing and Cruising   
Halyard Tension - a video   
Winchrite - for lazy days or extra muscle-power   

For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News  

Our Advertisers are committed to our sport, please support them!
This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia Pty. Ltd and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.

Photographs are copyright by law. If you wish to use or buy a photograph you must contact the photographer directly (there is a hyperlink in most cases to their website, or do a Google search.) with your request.

Please do not contact as we cannot give permission for use of other photographer’s images.

Only if the photographer named on the image is,, or
Contact us .
Ph: +61 2 8006 1873 or complete our feedback form    Contact us .
   View our Privacy Policy.    [Go Home]     [  Banner Advertising Specification]    [Bot Archive ]

Customised news feeds -Marine Industry companies, Clubs and Associations have their own customised version of our news feed on their website.