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 24 Feb 2011

Cruising sailors of the world mourn..

Map showing the course of the incident  .
Without doubt this is the most reluctant editorial I have ever written, one during which I know that all cruising sailors who set off to follow sunsets around the world will be mourning the deaths of four of our ilk who have come to an untimely – and unexpected – death at the hands of Somali pirates. Unexpected, because we all thought they just wanted ransom.

The broad facts are clear. Nineteen pirates were aboard the Quest with the crew - Scott Adam, his wife Jean, of Orange County, California; and Phyllis Mackay and Bob Riggle, of Seattle, Washington – when they were being forced to sail from the point of their seajacking – 190 nautical miles southeast of Masirah Island in Oman - to Somalia. Four U.S. Navy warships were trailing them: USS Enterprise, an aircraft carrier; Guided Missile Cruiser Leyte Gulf; and Guided Missile Destroyers Sterett and Buckley.

Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle both of Seattle  .. .
Two pirates came on board the Sterett to negotiate, and remained overnight. The next morning at around 8.00am a rocket propelled grenade was fired at the Sterett, and small arms fire was heard immediately afterwards from the yacht. Following that 13 pirates moved onto the bow with their hands up in surrender. SEALs sped to the yacht, finding four pirates below decks, two of them dead. They killed the other two, one with a gunshot, one with a knife. The four American sailors had already been shot. Two were already dead, and first aid was administered to the two who were still alive. They died shortly after.

These are the facts, but two major questions remain.

Question 1 is about the pirates's actions. The facts seem to indicate that there was an altercation between the pirates. So was this a cold-blooded killing of the four cruising sailors, perhaps by
Jean and Scott Adams of Orange County California  .. .
instruction from ashore? Or was it an act of panic by twitchy pirates because they were being followed by the four American ships? The difference IS important, because if it is the former it raises the general state of piracy in the area to a whole new level. Published ad hoc pirate statements after the incident can be discounted as normal 'gung-ho' responses, from pirates unassociated with the incident. It also raises questions about the fate of South African cruising sailors Deborah Calitz and Bruno Pelizzari, still in the hands of Somalis in Somalia.

Question 2 concerns the Quest: Why did the crew of the Quest, confirmed to be unarmed, and having specifically joined a rally in order to take them through the pirate zone, suddenly depart the rally? According to Peter Seymour of the Blue Water Rally, the Quest decided to split from the rally on 15th February. According to friends of the Adams, why they would do this is a mystery, yet to be answered.

Sail-World Cruising joins the rest of the cruising world in mourning for the lost sailors, the first such deadly incident in the long sordid history of piracy in waters surrounding Somalia.

Nancy Knudsen, Editor

Sailors' shooting deaths - Yachting community grieves as pirates exult
Nancy Knudsen,
The yachting community world wide has been horrified and appalled by the fatal shooting of four cruising sailors in the Indian Ocean this week. According to TTT Rally leader, Rene Tiemessen, whose rally had been turned down by the European navies for an escort, there are still around 100 yachts attempting the crossing. 'It's not over yet,' he commented by satellite to me after the tragedy.... [more]
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Grave fears for missing yacht Berserk in Antarctica – EPIRB stops
Nancy Knudsen,
Grave fears are now held for the crew of three – Norwegians and possibly one British sailor - on expedition yacht Berserk, skippered by Norwegian professional sailor Jarle Andhoey, who has been skippering the 14metre 25 ton steel yacht for many years. Their distress beacon, set off on 22nd February, has stopped working.... [more]
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Pirates kill four Americans aboard hijacked yacht,
The U.S. Central Command issued a statement today that four American sailors have been killed by Somali pirates aboard their hijacked yacht, the SV Quest in the Indian Ocean.... [more]
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London Insurers form a private pirate-fighting fleet
Neptune Maritime Security/Sail-World,
Insurers in the City of London are finalising plans to set up a private fleet of armed patrol boats in the Gulf of Aden, in a new drive to stamp out Somali piracy, but there's no indication that cruising yachts will be included or able to insure as a result of the plan.... [more]
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Scientific expedition ship starts a new journey
Dorie Cox, The Triton,
The ocean and its environment is always important to those who spend time on the water, and studying them is more and more occupying the minds of scientists in order to map what is happening to our planet as well as monitoring the sealife. Dorie Cox of!The_Triton, writes of another worthy example... [more]
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Solar powered yacht: 146 days and heading for French Polynesia
Nancy Knudsen,
Last September a very large solar solar-powered yacht called Planet Solar set out from Monaco, aiming to be the first to circumnavigate the globe in a 'solar' boat, powered only by solar energy. It planned that it would take around 160 days to circle the planet, but 146 days later they have just left Galapagos for the Marquesas in French Polynesia. Maybe they are just having a good time!... [more]
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Acid oceans demand greater reef care
ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies,
The more humanity acidifies and warms the world's oceans with carbon emissions, the harder we will have to work to save our coral reefs. Modelling by a team led by Dr Ken Anthony has found that reefs already overfished and affected by land runoff are likely to be more vulnerable to increasing CO2 in the atmosphere caused by the burning of fossil fuels.... [more]
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2011 Innovation Awards - just announced
Sail-World Cruising,
No matter what country you live in, when the Miami International Boat Show comes around each year it's interesting to see who has won the USA's National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) Awards. As with European awards, the judges were journalists, members of Boating Writers International.... [more]
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U.S. considers military action after pirate seajacking
Nancy Knudsen,
As the seajacked yacht Quest with four Americans on board heads for the Somali coastline, U.S. military officials said they are considering a response, are 'prepared to intervene'. The yacht belongs to Jean and Scott Adam, from Orange County in California, who were on a worldwide voyage, and had already been using their yacht Quest as their home for seven years.... [more]
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Yacht pirate Seajack:'Wake up and see' convoy leader tells politicians
Nancy Knudsen,
Rene Tiemessen, leader of one of the convoys consisting mostly of American and European yachts attempting to reach their home countries from Asia hopes the latest hijacking will cause 'all politicians to wake up and see what has become of their doing nothing to protect us.'... [more]
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Dangers of electric heaters on boats: Four top tips
Boat U.S,
While ice has overtaken much of the more northerly climes of the northern hemisphere, recreational boating continues throughout areas which are just a little warmer. lummeting temperatures lead many boaters to use portable electric heaters on their boats, which can be dangerous.... [more]
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New sailing app for iPhone: Come Sailing 1.0
John Conrader/Sail-World Cruising,
Come Sailing 1.0, an app designed for sailboat owners and bareboat charterers, is now docked at the iPhone App Store. The Come Sailing app is a sailor's assistant providing nautical information, checklists, a hull speed calculator, and a sailing log book... [more]
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RYA concerned over windfarm development site announcement
Emma Slater,
Eneco, the project developers behind the proposed offshore wind park off the Dorset and Hampshire coasts and to the west of the Isle of Wight, today (18 February 2011) announced their preferred location for the wind park to be positioned.... [more]
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Blue Water Rally Yacht and four crew seajacked in the Indian Ocean
Nancy Knudsen,
Pictured cruising sailors had left the rally they were travelling with and are now in the hands of Somali pirates. Ecoterra, long time piracy watch and environmental organisation, has reported that a yacht was seajacked by pirates on the 18th February, 282 nautical miles south east of Sur in Oman.... [more]
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BoatUS - Vote for your favorite new life jacket design
D. Scott Croft,
BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is asking boaters, sailors and anglers to vote now for their favorite new life jacket design entry in the 'Innovation in Life Jacket Design Competition'.... [more]
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Pirate given 34 years jail - but will it deter?
Nancy Knudsen,
It won't make any difference this year to the convoy of yachts - estimated to be around a hundred - who are stranded on the wrong side of the Indian Ocean, but one can't help wondering if the 34 year sentence handed down to a Somali pirate will act as a deterrent to the bands of pirates now spread across the western Indian Ocean. The answer would probably be 'No.'... [more]
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Learn or upgrade sailing skills with a holiday in Greece
Ozgur Tore/Sail-World,
So you want to learn to sail or maybe improve your sailing skills? Why do it at home? Why not do it in an exotic sailing location and enjoy a fabulous holiday at the same time? Got a non-sailing partner? They will have a fabulous time too - and it's all happening in Greece.... [more]
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Sarasota Yacht Club cancels Sarasota to Havana Event for 2011
Nancy Knudsen,
February 15 came and went with no positive word from USA authorities, and the Sarasota Yacht Club had established that as the deadline for getting permission for almost 200 sailors who wanted to sail to Havana in Cuba.... [more]
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World Yacht Rallies and the business they bring...
Nancy Knudsen,
Yacht rallies are big business to the ports that they visit, with ports vying between each other to win such prizes as the Volvo Round World Race or the big yacht rallies. Mackay, on the north east coast of Australia is chortling having won the right to host two of the world's great round world yacht rallies next year, the Blue Water Rally and the World ARC... [more]
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Extinction predictor 'will help protect coral reefs'
ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies,
More than a third of coral reef fish species are in jeopardy of local extinction from the impacts of climate change on coral reefs, a new scientific study has found.... [more]
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Fitzroy Yachts lightens the load with Goldcore Light
Mat Wylie,
With significant advancements in the production of Goldcore lightweight plywood, the brand is seeing growing popularity in all corners of the world. Goldcore Light is riding the popularity as one of the best lightweight plywoods in the business of Marine interior construction. Fitzroy Yachts trialed and selected Goldcore Light for their G50 project... [more]
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