Thailand to Turkey Convoy through the Gulf of Aden Cancelled
The organisers of the TTT Rally have recently made the decision not to go ahead with the rally/convoy as planned, due to the deteriorating situation in the Gulf of Aden and associated waters. Unhappy with the response of the international navies, organiser Rene Tiemessen said, "We have waited before we took this decision, because we thought, hoped and counted on the international community to respond in an effective way to address this issue and make the waters and coasts of the region safe again. To our astonishment, but also disbelief, we saw that nothing changed for the good."
Recounting the response of international navies during the last TTT convoy at the beginning of 2011, Tiemessen continued, "When we were in the area, despite the fact that we were sailing in convoy and had reported our position daily to UKMTO, on one occasion where we asked for help when surrounded by suspicious small boats, the nearest naval vessel was 400 NM away. That's half the Indian Ocean!".
Should cruising yachts attempt the Gulf of Aden?
Tom Sampson who organised a 27 yacht convoy from Salalah to Aden in 2010 comments, "Common sense dictates that making the passage is extremely risky and that risk is the same or greater if you do so in a convoy or rally" (see his full article here). Tiemessen states, "Our answer last year was yes, it is dangerous but feasible. Now we don't believe it is anymore. The pirates have become more ruthless, and they still operate now even in heavier seas, because of the use of motherships. There is no reasonable way anymore to negotiate these waters for sailing yachts."