Security Alert: Calm Ocean Invites Heightened Pirate Activity

Spring is a high season for sailors in the Indian Ocean, as the weather is settled after the monsoons, and ocean calming down, conditions are perfect for going out to sea. It is also a popular season for yacht transit to and from the Indian Ocean, through the Red Sea to Mediterranean Sea and Europe. The Archipelago of Seychelles and the Maldives are the most popular destinations here, with Seychelles providing the busiest hub for all yacht activities in the area.

Yachts are not the only vessels going at spring. The calm sea is also inviting heightened piracy activity in the area, most likely (but not limited to) the Western Indian Ocean around Somalia and south from here, along the Mozambique Channel. The calm sea enables more pirates to sail with smaller boats, risking yachtsmen and merchant vessels with more potential attacks.

A strategic hub in this area is the archipelago of Seychelles; offering yacht owners a safe and secure destination for the transit of vessels, supply replenishment and comprehensive port facilities. Seychelles also provides a focal point for security activities in the Indian Ocean. Authorized by the Seychelles authorities to carry arms on maritime security missions throughout the territorial waters VSOS is an authorized security provider for the Seychelles EEZ (exclusive economic zone). Yachts facing the growing risk of pirate attacks at ever greater distances from the coast trust VSOS armed guards that deploy from the island, on board vessels crossing the Indian Ocean. As of spring 2012 VSOS is offering special security packages for yachts sailing and transiting to and from Seychelles. Contact us for details

In the recent weeks Somali pirates have seized an Iranian-owned cargo ship and its 23 strong crew off the Hoarafush island in North-Western Maldives, according to Maldives defense officials it was the first time Somali pirates have taken a ship at this area which is 3,000 km afar from their bases. In recent years Somali pirates have extended the reach of their operations right across the Indian Ocean.

As the pirates have expanded their operations, they are using larger vessels and equipment funded by the large ransoms paid for the release of hostages. Somali pirates are believed to be holding around eight other hijacked vessels and 200 crewmembers.