New warning to yachts on piracy dangers

somali pirateOCTOBER 2, 2012 — While commercial shipping operators know by now that the end of the monsoon season will bring an increase in pirate activities, maritime authorities are letting the yachting world know that sailing yachts are still a tempting target for Somali pirates.

In a joint statement issued today, the Maritime Shipping Center-Horn of Africa (MSCHOA), NATO Shipping Center, UK Maritime and Trade Organization (UKMTO) and MARLO say that their advice remains that sailing yachts should avoid transiting the High Risk Area (HRA) in the Indian Ocean for the foreseeable future.

The HRA is the bounded by Suez and the Strait of Hormuz to the north, and 10° S and 78° E.

With the end of the South West monsoon, the weather and sea states in the Indian Ocean and the Southern Red Sea will become more conducive to pirate activity. Despite the fact that attacks on merchant vessels appear to have decreased, the possibility of attacks and the successful pirating of sailing vessels remains likely due to their vulnerability and the reduction of revenue sources from merchant vessels.

To pirate groups, sailing yachts are an easy target and possible source of revenue.

"Sailing in large groups is unlikely to be a deterrent –groups of sailing yachts could be seen as a larger target and a bigger source of ransom," warns today's advisory.
 
If any yacht skippers are dumb enough to ignore this advice, the advisory says they should:
 
1. Inform Maritime Security Center Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) at postmaster@mschoa.org with the subject line "Yacht Vessel Movement"; and
2. Maintain regular contact with UKMTO Dubai on +971 50552 3215 or email ukmto@eim.ae and MARLO on marlo.bahrain@me.navy.mil or +973 3940 1395 with position updates.

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