Warnings of an expected increase in pirate attacks in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden were given by Royal Navy sources at a briefing in London last week.
A spokesman stated that the number of vessels currently being held by pirates pending ransom negotiations stood at six, roughly half the level experienced over the past year and new targets were likely to be sought.
The spokesman further warned that pirates are now ranging ever further across the Somali Basin. "We cannot rule out the possibility of attacks occurring as far east as the coast of India and as far south as Madagascar" he said.
In response to these warnings the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) has updated and re-issued its guidelines to yachts contemplating making a passage through the Gulf of Aden and the Somali Basin. A single-sheet summary of the guidelines has been sent to marina managers, Port Captains and ships' Agents in all the places frequented by long-distance sailors with a request that it be displayed prominently and, where possible, copied and given out to visiting yachts.
"We are determined to do all we can to inform the long-distance sailing community of the very real risks passages in these waters entail' said Alan Green, chairman of the ISAF International Regulations Commission "and to make sure that skippers and crews are aware of the advice of the naval authorities who co-ordinate warship operations in the area".
Details of the anti-piracy guidelines may be seen at: http://www.sailing.org/tools/documents/ISAFGuidelinesForPreventionOfPiracy-.pdf
Details of the summary may be seen at:http://www.sailing.org/tools/documents/PiracyFlyer2010-.pdf
Further ISAF information regarding piracy guidelines can be found at: www.sailing.org/piracy
Information on the anti-piracy operations may be found at: http://www.mschoa.eu/About.aspx