Yachts to avoid transits in the Horn of AfricaOctober 20, 2010 - 14:02
On 19 October 2010, EU NAVFOR welcomed a delegation of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) to its Operational Headquarters (Northwood – UK) in order to provide them with a better understanding of the piracy threat in the Gulf of Aden and in the Somali Basin.
EU NAVFOR wanted to share with the organization’s representatives the evolutions of the threat and of the operation in the area.
“It is true that a yacht is not a vessel of choice for pirates, from an economical point of view, but if they don’t find anything ‘better’, they will just attack the yacht”, explained an intelligence officer from EU NAVFOR. “Do not think that there is a better place, better period, or even better way, to transit in the Horn of Africa. The only safe solution is to avoid transiting it.”
The International Sailing Federation was presented the “Best Management Practices”, recommended to merchant vessels transiting the area, as an illustration of the necessity for self defence in the Horn of Africa.
“It is difficult for big merchant vessel to see a small skiff arriving alongside his vessel. But it is even more difficult for a yacht, with a lower freeboard, especially when the skiff is painted in blue, explained Simon Church, EU NAVFOR’s liaison officer with the merchant navy. Add to this the fact that yachts usually do not have the technical possibility to receive the navigation warnings broadcasted after an attack, and you will understand how dangerous the situation is for them.”
The International Sailing Federation expressed her will to increase yachtsmen awareness of the dangers of the area.
“We do understand the difficulty for naval forces to provide any protection to yachts given their limited assets and their priorities. Our aim is to make sure sailors who want to transit this area are well aware of its dangers and of the framework of the naval forces operations”, concluded the International Sailing Federation.
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