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Old 11-16-2007, 07:59 AM   #1
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PIRACY so far this YEAR – Specifically dealing with attempts on Cruising Yachts



Analysis of the Report for the 1st 9 Months of 2007

Discussion and Conclusions

Discussion:-

This analysis of reported attempted attacks on Yachts sailing the world has been carried out by Cruiserlog Moderators in order to evaluate the events/incidents from a cruisers point of view. It is not meant to be a criticism of the ICC International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Report Centre's Q3 report for 2007.

They receive reports from ships, boats and yachts and précis these for publication in their weekly piracy report which is then widely circulated. It is probable that the IMB is not able to check the veracity of the initial incident, therefore having to accept it at face value even though it may sound incomplete, inaccurate or even exaggerated.

A minor issue is the classification of Vietnam as being in the Far East not South East Asia,

while the Philippines is in South East Asia – however this does not alter the overall picture of Piracy in this part of the world.

Reports of attempted attacks on yachts totaled the grand sum of 7 on all of this Planet's oceans and seas during the first 9 months of 2007 – why is it that no reports were included on piracy attacks on yachts in the Caribbean , when it is understood that robberies and thefts from yachts are relatively commonplace in many of the anchorages and that these are reported in a number of publications and forums? Is it because victims and or authorities decide that Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia being on the side of the Planet is just too far away to consider filing a report?

In South East Asia we also have reports of dinghy outboard engines being stolen from yachts while the owners were asleep or away. At least 5 this year, between Labuan >> Gaya Island >> Kudat >> Sandekan -- Sabah Malaysia, not one of these robberies were reported as piracy attacks, reports merely made to local police as a "theft."

Conclusions:-

With only 7 reported incidents involving yachts, of which 4 took place in the Middle East , one in the Northern Indian Ocean, with just two incidents in the vicinity of the Anambas Islands – South East Asian Waters where yachts were reportedly approached by pirates – these in probability may very well have involved some detachment of the Indonesian Navy which is based in the Anambas Islands who are charged with controlling access to the Islands.

Therefore, it is concluded that with the thousands of yachts that are based in S.E. Asia and the hundreds of cruising yachts that are actively cruising the seas of S.E. Asia – that actual or attempted attacks on yachts in the first nine months of 2007 were of little or no significance whatsoever. The greatest danger to yachts in the Strait of Malacca (often quoted as the Pirates' Playground) is still lightning!

See full analysis in Piracy_SEA.doc

Also proceed to the chapter on Piracy in the CruiserLog WIKI for additional information.

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Old 11-16-2007, 02:59 PM   #2
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Is it because victims and or authorities decide that Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia being on the side of the Planet is just too far away to consider filing a report?

Possibly, but also possible that the local authorities just didn't consider it piracy, and if they did, I wonder if they knew how to report it as such. When our outboard was stolen in Sabah, Malaysia (Borneo) back in 1999 we reported it to the local authorities, at the insistence of the locals on the dock when Peter went ashore to buy a new outboard. They were all outraged. That it wouldn't make it onto a piracy report is not surprising to me, when even we didn't think of it as piracy.

We have been visiting the Caribbean for 30 years or so, and have owned an apartment there for more than 20 years, so reports of high crime activity in the Caribbean doesn't surprise us at all. The popularity of the area for tourists almost guarantees a high incidence of theft, whether land-based tourists or yachts both chartered and privately owned. The popular tourist areas draw all the criminally-inclined locals. Supply and demand. However, even when it's yachts being robbed, the locals more than likely do not consider it piracy, and I would suspect that most theft incidents are left out of any reports that might be picked up by anybody in the tourist industry.

Tourists are outraged by the theft of their property but will be leaving within days of the theft occurring. Even if the thief is caught, there's not going to be anybody around to testify against him. The goods aren't going to be identified (they steal lots of cameras) since most people don't carry the serial number of their electronic devices around with them. In my opinion, it's why cruisers don't experience as high a crime rate as land-bound residents do. Cruising yachts can frequent the less-congested places that don't draw tourists and avoid most of the associated parasites that feed off them.

One other detail that seems to always escape discussion when it comes to theft. Many of the high-ticket items stolen from tourists and yachts are sold back to other tourists and yachts at a huge discount. Dinghies are one glaring example. A friend in the boat service business in St. Martin warned us in April one year to very carefully secure our dinghy and take the outboard off it when we weren't using it. "The French [I know, I know, but this is quoting him] will be leaving soon for Europe, and some of these guys will sail back with their boat full of stolen dinghies and outboards. That's how they finance their life afloat." He was right that April and May were the worst months for theft of large yacht gear. And the people who are buying it? Other yachties.

Thank you Richard and Stephen for posting this report and opening the discussion.
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Old 03-14-2008, 03:58 AM   #3
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You have to know where to look for safety and security issues for cruisers. The website you are looking at is slanted almost exlcusively to commercial shipping.

For the Caribbean and south and central America you go to: http://www.safetyandsecuritynet.com/

The have a long listing of the piracy and other attacks on cruising boats. But always remember that less than a fourth of the actual attacks ever get reported. And obviously, fatal attacks do not get reported if there are no survivors.

As poverty increases in parts of the world and more and more seemingly "well-off" folks go sailing into areas where no sane / informed person would go, the number of attacks increases.
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Old 03-14-2008, 08:14 AM   #4
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Thank's for your input on the subject -

You will see that we have considered what goes on in that part of the world if reference is made to Cruiser Log's analysis of the 2007 report on Piracy where we found the following relative to reporting in the Caribbean : "Reports of attempted attacks on yachts totaled the grand sum of 7 on all of this Planet’s oceans and seas during the first 9 months of 2007 – why is it that no reports were included on piracy attacks on yachts in the Caribbean , when it is understood that robberies and thefts from yachts are relatively commonplace in many of the anchorages and that these are reported in a number of publications and forums? Is it because victims and or authorities decide that Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia being on the side of the Planet is just too far away to consider filing a report? "

Maybe it would be useful if the 'safeandsecurity net' reported their findings to the :- ICC International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Report Centre so that these can be incorporated into main report.
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Old 04-09-2008, 11:48 PM   #5
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The reason cruisers and the Caribbean Security net and other cruiser information sources do not report incidents to the ICC International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Report Centre is that they are not interested in dinghy and motor thefts or the activities of criminals who harass and attack cruisers. That ICC site is for large vessels and commercial vessels.

Cruising sailors have their own sites such as the Caribbean Security net, Noonsite, the Caribbean Safety and Security Net and the cruiser magazines and websites. On those locations you will find a the hundreds of robberies, muggings armed boardings and murders of sailing cruisers throughout the Caribbean and Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Cruisers are not really interested in attacks on freighters, mega yachts, or Cruiseliners as they are done by a different sort of criminal from the ones who attack us. And they are concentrated in areas of the world where cruising sailors do not normally go.
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Old 04-10-2008, 03:23 AM   #6
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osirissailing,

Thanks for your input.

"The reason cruisers and the Caribbean Security net and other cruiser information sources do not report incidents to the ICC International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Report Centre is that they are not interested in dinghy and motor thefts or the activities of criminals who harass and attack cruisers. That ICC site is for large vessels and commercial vessels."

Need to understand who are not interested :- the Caribbean Security net and other cruiser information sources, or the ICC International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Report Centre - which ?



" the hundreds of robberies, muggings armed boardings and murders of sailing cruisers throughout the Caribbean and Atlantic and Pacific oceans."


It would be very useful to have a listing of confirmed incidents broken down into categories, such as those mentioned - say for the period 2007 through to 31 March 2008 - could you provide this so that we can forward it to relevant authorities.



"Cruisers are not really interested in attacks on freighters, mega yachts, or Cruiseliners as they are done by a different sort of criminal from the ones who attack us"
.

In fact Cruisers are interested in Piracy in any form and in any of its accepted definitions, already on this very topic we have had some 1,630 hits - on the Pirates seizure of S/V Le Ponant a few days ago some 160 visits were already made to that topic.

"And they are concentrated in areas of the world where cruising sailors do not normally go".

Cruising sailors certainly go to areas where Piracy is reported - The Indian Ocean, The Western Pacific, South East Asia. etc...
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Old 04-23-2008, 11:23 PM   #7
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Actually, you are missing the point. We cruisers on small sailboats - 60 feet or less - operate in a different environment than freighters, cruise liners, and other commercial traffic. For the IMM to report only 7 pirate attacks world wide in 2007 is so far fetched it would be humorous if the situation was not actually so dangerous. In the Caribbean basin alone in 2007 there were 63 confirmed pirate attacks reported on the Caribbean Security Net website. Add in dozens in the other parts of the world and you are a very long way from "7."

The point is we have our own networks of information that are separate and apart from the commercial vessel world. We travel with the winds and currents and gunkhole our way from one out of the way place to another out of the way place. The commercial vessel go straight to their destinations which are normally industrial areas and specific land tourist destinations.

There are no "revelant authorites" on the oceans and seas. It is a no-man's land(water) with no government or policing agencies responsible for security. Incidents are recorded and published by private efforts to keep their constituents informed as a service. Getting confirmation of actual incidents follows the same statistical rules as land based crime. One confirmed and filed report for each 100 actual crimes - that is, 90 of the actual attacks / incidents simply are not reported due to embarassment or just plain apathy. Also it involves taking time and effort to make the reports and most victums just want to forget the whole thing as quickly as possible.

But there are definite patterns to the various piracy incidents worldwide. Piracy for cruisers is simply any kind of theft or assault or attempt to board and steal from a cruising boat or its crew. Places and times of year are identifiable. And then there is the overall wildcard of history - everything happens in cycles - for a year or so an area will have a rash of incidents and then they will stop for awhile. Areas that were "safe" 5 years ago can now be very dangerous and vice versa.

That is why keeping up with the nets and security sites for your sailing venue is important. Word get passed down the nets and SSB nets and computer nets on trouble areas and cruisers start avoiding the area. Then the criminals lose interest due to lack of targets or move to a different location and start up business there. In the Caribbean islands the local governments finally take notice after a season or two of boats avoiding the island. The businesses and people servicing the cruising community start to feel the pinch of no customers and demand action from their government. Then the situation is cleaned up and a cycle of "good times" returns until apathy and the cycle of history again turns and the criminals re-assert themselves.

The S/V Le Ponant is a cruise liner not a crusing sailboat. They obviously throught that their size and speed would protect them from pirates in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia. That area has been plagued by Somalian pirates for more than a decade and as a result there has been a major shift in the cruising sailboat routes. Now most divert from the Maldives southwest toward Madagascar and around South Africa. Very few sailing cruisers enter the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea anymore, it is too dangerous. There are reports of cruising sailboats forming groups and trying to make it through - - and they get attacked and shot at. In one reported incident the lead boat was attacked by Somalian pirates and a nearby cruising sailboat was able to ram the pirates from behind as their attention was forward on their target. All the cruising sailboats in the group survived but not without some amount of bullet holes in their hulls. There are reports of large megayachts getting together and hiring the Thailand navy for a few hundred thousand US dollars to provide armed escort through the Gulf of Aden. It is a lot cheaper for them to hire a warship than have to go all the way down and around Africa to get to the Med. The French government maintains a warship in the area to assist their nationals to transit the area. The Brits and American governments are not interested in protecting their nationals in this area even when they have "assets" in the area.

Southeast Asia is definitely off the cruising map except for the routes from Austraila to Thailand, Singapore and Sri Lanka. The Indian Ocean is also off the cruising map except for the route from Thailand to Sri Lanka to Maldives, Seychelles and south to South Africa. Since we do not have 5 inch canons or 50 caliber machines mounted on our foredecks, cruisers avoid the areas of reported pirate activity the same way that land people avoid traveling through the dangerous area of major cities, etc. We have no effective defenses / firepower onboard so prudency leads us to just not go where pirates are reported to be active. That is why we have the nets and websites in the first place. And they are different from the large or commercial vessel sites and agencies. That is the point.
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Old 11-26-2009, 07:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by osirissailing View Post
Actually, you are missing the point. We cruisers on small sailboats - 60 feet or less - operate in a different environment than freighters, cruise liners, and other commercial traffic. ....
Your logic is faultless. Congrats on a great post.
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Old 11-26-2009, 08:15 AM   #9
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Hello PhuketCat,

Welcome to Cruiser Log, The topic and posts above relate to a period 2 1/2 years ago,

We now have a completely different scenario. The current pirate activities in the Western Indian Ocean, Arabian sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, show that a radical tactical change has taken place - in that, the pirates are now consistently opening fire directly at ships prior to and during the attempt to board, hijack and take hostages.

We do not advocate at this time a skipper putting his crew or family to the risk of a passage to the Med via the areas mentioned above.

see the attached :- bmp_21_8_2009.pdf
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Old 11-26-2009, 04:03 PM   #10
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I think that Osirissailing and Phuketcat have a point, because there are other areas where piracy occurs.

However, since this is a regional forum covering the Indian Ocean, SE Asia, and the Red Sea, the emphasis is on reports for that area. I agree that we should turn our attention to other areas as well, and I guess I'll try to do that once Thanksgiving cooking and entertaining is over, posting to the appropriate forum. Anybody else ready to jump in here, please do.
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