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Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka - Possibly Piracy or Possibly Not

By Sue Richards last modified Jan 21, 2009 09:40 PM

Published: 2009-01-21 21:40:21
Topics: Piracy Reports 2008
Countries: Sri Lanka

Over the years we have been "pursued" several times in this area well offshore, but are now convinced that these are not attempts at piracy. (See report from other cruiser Chased by.......near Sri Lanka - January 2008).

This year, while en route from the Seychelles to Malaysia, we were approached at high speed on 2 occasions by Sri Lankan fishing boats. This was quite frightening, and we had no hope of outrunning these vessels in the calm conditions. The boats each had 4 or 5 fisherman on board and roared up to us, within touching distance.

Our knees were knocking, but on both occasions the crew started smiling and juggling pineapples and papayas, as well as offering fish and squid, all of which they passed across to us. They were just being friendly and curious, were probably bored out there, and would have liked some cigarettes (which we didn't have). We passed across some fruit juice and baked beans, and they went merrily on their way.

It is easy to get paranoid in these situations, where you're not sure what is going on.

For those interested in these matters, The International Piracy Reporting Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, produces piracy attack maps. The maps for the past 4 yrs are available on their website, and they show no attacks for hundreds of miles in the Indian Ocean south of Sri Lanka.

Jane Hiett

See Piracy/General for further information on the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre.

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