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Old 01-19-2007, 12:53 PM   #1
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Default Pirates?

As I sort of touched in my previous and first post. I spent some time on Navy ships. During that time we did several vessel born search and seizures on suspect pirate ships... Obviously we were functioning on international intelligence and seeking out the suspected pirates but my question is; How much of a threat are pirates these days to a private sailing vessel? I know the straits of Malacca are fairly notorius but my understanding is that they usually go after commercial ships... or are private sailers considered easy pickings?

thanks for any replies.
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Old 01-19-2007, 02:28 PM   #2
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Most 'real' pirates do go after bigger fish and attacks on commercial vessels do represent highest stats in reported incidents.

But there are still many incidents where smaller boats do raid cruisers. Most of the known danger areas are either avoided, rushed through as far as possible from shore, and in convoy.

Theft obviously is also a risk when anchored up - again some areas are risky.

Most of this info can be obtained from pilot books - and any trawl of any sailing site will give you relatively up to date info.

IMHO re any form of threat - 99.9% of where you'd sail is either minimal or no risk. And with so many nice places to go, the easy solution is to avoid the risky bits!

Cheers

JOHN
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Old 01-19-2007, 09:51 PM   #3
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Once again, thanks Swagman. This one however raises a couple of other questions. Most of which once again stem from my being a military guy. 1) What kind of weapons do most cruisers keep aboard just in case? 2) If you have a good watch and detect a small craft approaching quickly is there something a person can run up in order to say, "Stay away or we'll open fire!"? That way you don't have to wait till they are on you to figure out if they are friendly or not, if they are not responding on the radio, or there are language barriers. 3) Where does a person pick up a pilot book(s)?
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Old 01-19-2007, 10:40 PM   #4
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What's the best weapon for repelling pirates? DYNAMITE

And most of the pirates I've met were wearing uniforms.

Actually - we did get eye to eye with some desperados one time in the Gulf of Aden enroute to the Red Sea. We were traveling in a convoy of ten boats, 35 miles off the coast of Yemen to the north and Somolia to the south. Nothing came of it but may have been different had we been alone.

While tales like that make exciting conversation among would-be cruisers... statistically, you're much more likely to get robbed, murdered and / or hit by a taxi in any city in the world. Especially here in the United States.

Get your boat, go have some fun and stop worrying about what may come. I believe we all sail to relieve stress and enjoy this world we're visiting. With the right boat and right frame of mind - you'll have the time of your life.

To Life!

Carry on, Marine.

Kirk
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Old 01-20-2007, 03:10 AM   #5
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Unfortunately, piracy is what I call a "buzz word" which brings up images of skulls and crossbones, men with eyepatches wielding swords and guns. It is so loaded a word that I hate to use it.

Piracy is better defined as any act of theft committed against a water-borne vessel, be it ship, rowboat, dinghy with an outboard motor, or 200-foot+ long freighter. When our US flag was stolen off our boat by an islander, that would be considered piracy. As when our diving mask and fins were stolen off our boat in a marina in the States - piracy.

We have been cruising for 20 years. We have owned boats and been on the water for a goodly portion of our lives. We just haven't had problems enough to even consider carrying a weapon.

Here's the link to a thread on this board where I relate one story of why we don't carry arms: http://www.cruiserlog.com/forums/top...?TOPIC_ID=2676

And then there's our own cruising logs, these two sites: At the bottom of this log, "General Bits and Pieces" are some of my notes on piracy.

http://www.cruiser.co.za/hostmelon2.asp

A pirate attack report: http://www.cruiser.co.za/hostmelon39.asp

I cannot think of a place that we cruised where we did not invite locals who came alongside our boat to come aboard and visit with us. These visits were always a pleasure to us.

Most countries are going to require that you surrender any weapons you have while you are in their country, to be reclaimed when you have checked out to leave. That's a royal nuisance in some of the larger island chains, where you will check in at one island, and several hundred miles downwind check out from another island, weapon still in the first island a long hard slog away.

I think that the caravan approach is a good one in known pirate areas, as are the other advice above.

Fair winds,

Jeanne
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Old 01-20-2007, 04:36 AM   #6
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Oops, I didn't realize what a sensative topic the gun thing was. After reading the other threads I see there is no consensus, I do appreciate the responses though.
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Old 01-20-2007, 03:33 PM   #7
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Hi Atavist,

Re where to get pilot books - you can again trawl the web and find nautical booksellers or go to any reasonable yacht chandler who would normally stock or could get whatever pilot books you want.

A pilot book normally is authored by someone who knows the region really well, and normally the geographic area they cover is relatively small. For example, to cover the Caribbean one might need more than 6 / 10 such books - but to cover the Windward / Leeward Islands one would need just two.

The gun bit sure is controversial but you'll find most newer to sailing worry excessively about issue like piracy when most more experienced just take it in thier stride. I've just finished reading Peter Blakes life history (Xmas gift) and a great book about a even greater sailor that ends with him being shot in Brazil. There's obviously no guarantees on this - but some would say its not certain he would have been killed had he not pulled out a rifle himself....

Enjoy

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Old 01-20-2007, 04:05 PM   #8
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What is the differance between Pirates and theft?

In Florida, 1800 boats per year are stollen. Pirates?
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Old 01-20-2007, 11:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Converted Post'
Originally posted by Gallivanters

Actually - we did get eye to eye with some desperados one time in the Gulf of Aden enroute to the Red Sea. We were traveling in a convoy of ten boats, 35 miles off the coast of Yemen to the north and Somolia to the south. Nothing came of it but may have been different had we been alone.
Hi Kirk,

When and where was your attack in the Gulf of Aden? I'm doing that trip (heading east to Maldives from Port of Aden) this week.

The marine police, and the harbour master here think the worst place for pirates is further west near the choke point with Somalia. Apparently the people smugglers help people fleeing Somalia, then hit targets of opportunity on their way back...
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Old 01-21-2007, 01:10 PM   #10
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As for the personal pirate incident I mentioned above...

In March, 2001 we were traveling west, off the south coast of Yemen, in the region of Ahwar and Shaqra. We were EAST of the Port of Aden.

I reckon the region has been a Piracy Hot Spot for CENTURIES.

When we were approaching the region enroute from the Maldives to Oman, we heard from some friends (three weeks ahead of us) who'd been shot up and boarded near Al Mukalah... so, while resting in Oman, a group of us (ten boats) decided it may be best to sail the next leg from Oman to Eritrea in close convoy and well offshore. We all agreed to stay close to one another until reaching the Red Sea. We agreed to use only SSB for communications and there was a 100 mile stretch where we agreed not to show lights at night or sails by day.

We spotted the "pirates" approaching from the north in four open speedboats and we immediately circled our wagons. They split up and raced through our closing ranks. Each boat had 3 or 4 desperados aboard and they buzzed each boat asking for smokes and drinks while sizing us up, I suppose. They claimed to be out fishing... but they had no lines, nets or fish and the water was WAY deep that far offshore. They were with us nearly an hour but eventually lost interest and raced back off to the north.

I honestly didn't feel threatened at the moment... however, a few days later, when we were all sitting around a campfire on a remote beach on the Red Sea, while our boats bobbed safely at anchor, we all agreed that being in convoy is what gave the voyage a happy ending. That and the barbecue & cold beers we were all sharing that eveing under the stars...

I caught up with the crew of the boat that had come under fire when we were up in Egypt. They were clearly "rattled" and weren't the same as when we'd last seen them back in Thailand. They said the rascals approached them in broad daylight with automatic rifles blazing. They said they only took "shiny stuff" such as radio, binoculars, cameras, jewlery, booze & wallets. Thy added that they later discovered that a bullet had hit their furled genoa and had put over a dozen holes through the sail and one through the furler!

I reckon these may have been the same pirates who, two or three years ago, attempted to rob a pair of yachts and found themselves repelled by return fire, run over and sunk.

Personally - I'd never consider shooting someone at sea who may only want to sell me a fish. On the other hand I'll never invite a stranger to come aboard while we're underway.

Repel all Boarders.

For the record - my wife and I carried a Mosburg Mariner 12 guage shotgun onboard and we were both licensed and knew how to use it. We and our weapon were registered with the FBI and it was always stowed well out of sight and secured under two locks while in port.

At sea, it proved itself to be quite useful for taking the fight out of a few big fish we'd struggled to pull aboard.

It's definitely a personal decision but I believe that if one decides to buy and own a weapon of any sort it is essential to be properly trained in its use & maintenance, abide by local laws and to carry proper documentation at all times.

If I were in your deckshoes sailing east from Aden direct for Ulugam, I'd plot a course which works to keep me equidistant from both Yemen & Somolia and give Socotra a wide berth, too.

Have a good voyage.

Kirk
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Old 01-21-2007, 08:18 PM   #11
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Hi Kirk,

Thanks for the Info, and advice. I spoke to he Maritime security authority here in Yemen today, and they swear there hasn't been a pirate incident for more than a year in Yemeni waters.

I wouldn't be too concerned (I have been boarded in Indonesia by "Pirates" and have tended to discount the threat http:www.geocities.com/arkayos/pirates.html)but I was offered an AK47 the other day and the starting price was only $300USD. Weapons that cheap gives me a little cause for concern.

I'll be keeping well off shore heading up.
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