Piracy around the Seychelles - Our Departure Convoy
See Dominique's pre-departure report here
At last, we have crossed the Indian Ocean and are now in Thailand.
We left the Seychelles in convoy (4 boats) and we hired an armed escort vessel to take us 400NM East (we split the cost and everybody paid his share according to his yacht's lenght in feet). This must no be seen as a common practice favoured by the Seychelles authorities. Beside that it took me a lot of energy to organize the armed vessel and we ended up with four yachts only willing to pay the cost... As long as people were under the impression it would be free of charge or that they would be able to "shadow follow" the convoy without paying, there were many people on the list...
Most yachties have this feeling that the entire WORLD must protect them at no cost... Seychelles have no obligations beyond 12NM and the EU or other countries hav no obligation at all... Pirates have always been there for centuries and it's every captain's duty to make sure he is not exposing his crew or vessel...
Sailing in/out Seychelles was 100% not safe up to now (any route) but it might have SLIGHTLY improved for a week because of the monsoon season, but I would not take this information for granted until properly confirmed.
Sailing to the outer islands is now very difficult because Aldabra, Cosmoledo, Farquar and even the Amirantes are at risk (many incidents reported there) which means you are left with the Inner Islands only. It's for you to decide if such restriction on your sailing programme is acceptable. We decided it was not good enough for us; life is very expensive in the Seychelles, there is virtually no technical support for engines, aircon, electronics etc. and for us it was not worth staying there with the only option to sail in a 30NM radius to islands already crowded with cheap charter catamarans (Sunsail, Moorings, Dreamyacht etc.) Because of this situation the nice anchorages in La Digue, Praslin and Curieuse for instance are packed. Not our cup of tea to have six cats braiing nearby...
The Seychelles authorities are very cooperative, friendly and alert on the issue but they have VERY limited means of action (only one coast guard vessel which is tasked with many other jobs...)
According to the French/European navies the piracy problem will not be solved within a couple of months and boats based there or finally reaching there might be stuck for much longer than expected...They talk years! Like in the Gulf of Aden.
You remain the master on your vessel by all means but I would say that the Seychelles offer very limited interest for now... I would rather skip the Seychelles and go to Mauritius if I had to go West.