A View on Piracy in the Indian Ocean

Published 14 years ago, updated 4 years ago

The recent audacious hijack of a giant supertanker from Saudi Arabia by Somali pirates off the Kenyan coast has dismayed the world, carried out in spite of the presence of more and more of the world’s battleships. There has been no lack of news from the troubled area, but what does it mean for the cruising sailor?

If you were (or are) thinking of sailing between Asia and Europe right now, the obvious choice is to avoid the area altogether and sail around the coast of Africa, which carries its own difficulties. There’s another way of thinking about it – with piracy so successful a venture for the Somalis, maybe they won’t be worrying about pickings from a few tiny sailboats in the Gulf of Aden. Does anyone want to test that theory? (or going to?)

On the issue of danger, it’s worth remembering that the Caribbean Sea is much more dangerous than the Indian Ocean. While kidnapping is hardly pleasant, no deaths or injury have been recorded for cruising sailors in the Indian Ocean, while sailors have been left injured, permanently maimed or dead from pirate attacks in the Caribbean.

Courtesy Sail-World’s Cruising World newsletter 20th Nov. 2008

I have to point out that there is an error in the above report.

“No deaths or injury have been recorded for cruising sailors in the Indian Ocean.”

The above statement is not correct, my wife was shot during our sail thru the Gulf of Aden in 2000. Also, a young man was reported shot and killed in 1999.

Stephen Phillips.

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