A View on Piracy in the Indian Ocean
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. 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
Thanks to the folks at Noonsite for the reminder - even though the focus in the media is on commercial shipping, Somalia and piracy, cruising sailors still need to take measures to protect themselves.