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Old 18-05-2015, 23:28   #31
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Re: Piracy In Gulf of Aden

My first post- As I sit here on the hard reading these posts about how to get to the Med., I can only say as safely as you can- and sometimes that's as safely as you can afford- not just in boat prep or ship transport fees, but by taking into thorough consideration the consequences of a good or bad outcome. Got life insurance on you for your children? Insurance for your boat? Do you understand who will forever miss you if you die? Yes, you'll have to take your best guess or strategy to complete your trip to the Med, for all you value please do consider those you may leave behind. Those pictures of the sailing group or "rally" or "convoy" tell the story...would you turn back to help the sailor behind you if the pirate skiff has RPG and AK47, or would you push your throttle full forward? You're on your own out there and those who ran to save their own lives don't usually come forward to tell their story if they left someone behind. I appreciate that the US Navy tried to rescue my sister, her husband, their two companions, and brought their bodies home, but my family only wishes we'd been able to meet them in the Med after February 22nd, 2011 So my only message is consider those you may leave behind- Good Sailing, Mark
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Old 18-05-2015, 23:42   #32
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Re: Piracy In Gulf of Aden

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Originally Posted by MESavage View Post
My first post- As I sit here on the hard reading these posts about how to get to the Med., I can only say as safely as you can- and sometimes that's as safely as you can afford- not just in boat prep or ship transport fees, but by taking into thorough consideration the consequences of a good or bad outcome. Got life insurance on you for your children? Insurance for your boat? Do you understand who will forever miss you if you die? Yes, you'll have to take your best guess or strategy to complete your trip to the Med, for all you value please do consider those you may leave behind. Those pictures of the sailing group or "rally" or "convoy" tell the story...would you turn back to help the sailor behind you if the pirate skiff has RPG and AK47, or would you push your throttle full forward? You're on your own out there and those who ran to save their own lives don't usually come forward to tell their story if they left someone behind. I appreciate that the US Navy tried to rescue my sister, her husband, their two companions, and brought their bodies home, but my family only wishes we'd been able to meet them in the Med after February 22nd, 2011 So my only message is consider those you may leave behind- Good Sailing, Mark
Dear Mark,

I am deeply sorry for your loss. And I am thankful for your well considered and undoubtedly very deeply thought out post. Your contribution to this thread is timely and valuable, and adds a sobering and entirely appropriate and important note of seriousness to what has sometimes been, in my considered opinion, a discussion in some cases too lightly taken.

People are often poor at imagining the worst downsides of their risk taking. They are naturally biased to seeing themselves as being the "lucky" ones and that the "worst" will not happen to them. This is why people still walk into casinos despite the odds being intrinsically stacked against them. I learned long ago, while lying in a pool of my own blood, that this is a dangerous illusion.

Your contribution and thoughts are deeply appreciated. I hope you manage to heal. It has been four years, but no doubt will take more.

Thank you,

Yours Aye,

S
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Old 19-05-2015, 00:53   #33
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Re: Piracy In Gulf of Aden

MESavage;

Mark, please accept my condolences on the loss of your family members. We were a few days behind "Quest" at the time, and we turned around after the event. One of my crew was friends with your family members, and was devastated by the news. But for the grace of God this could have been us.

On the return passage we were also pursued by a pirate vessel, and, in view of what had just happened, it was a very stressful time. We were fortunate to escape.

OP, if I was considering this again (I also have a Farr, 40ft) I'd do RSA. In the current situation, not so much for the Somali issue, but due to the political and religious issues in the middle East.

However, if you never did anything that someone told you was dangerous, you would never leave home. Most people in most places are great. Do your research, make your choice as close to the time as you can, then go.

Best of luck. PM me if you want to talk to another Kiwi who has been there.

Cheers
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Old 19-05-2015, 01:34   #34
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Re: Piracy In Gulf of Aden

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Bulawayo, with respect, you appear to have a crystal ball on Yemen that no one else has, even the Yemenis. What is going on there is an aspect of an increasingly generalised civil war in Islam. The Yemeni president was forced to flee the COUNTRY recently, not just holidaying in perfectly safe Aden. With regard to the 400km… really? You can drive that in a handful of hours. So can they, and there are many months in between now and the planned arrival of the OP's boat. I respect your local experience but your own willingness to risk the downsides of that passage and what must still be very well informed but anecdotal advice should be at least tempered with some realisation that it is not your own, but other's fates you are here advising. I find your tone slightly surprisingly unequivocal in its positivity, particularly in view of the likes of this:

http://eunavfor.eu/wp-content/upload...ingWarning.pdf

In this document the fleet you and your French friends put their trust in specifically warn yachts to stay out of the area, because, as they state, they cannot protect them. Are they just lying or kidding around?

MarkJ's words appear more balanced to me at least. Are you suggesting that there is ZERO risk of severe consequences?
You can (mis) intepret my words as you wish...... sailing has inherent safety issues and if you need guarantee's then you should preferably stay in bed? I have a couple of sailing friends who have stopped in Aden after being offered jobs there. One is a doctor and the other an optician. Both are sailing with their families and both have their yachts in the harbour. If Aden becomes too risky they'll gap it.
400km's might be only a few hours drive under 'western' conditions. However, under the prevailing conditions you are talking more in terms of at least a week for a powerful armed unit to force a route through. You need to understand the region before commenting and judging it by the standards that you are used to. We have spent close to 20 years in the area and most likely understand it better than many. People refer to Fatty Goodlander - who is an excellent sailor - but it does not mean his routing decisions are any better informed than the majority of the postings on this website. Bear in mind that the significant number of postings on this subject are anti-Red Sea routing. However, what is the basis of their decisions? Speculation on the basis of limited information extracted from the media? Others influence? I have recently completed the trip for the eighth time in the last 4 years. I am of the opinion that the few people who have undertaken the trip may wish to embroider their experience - just as many do with the size of the fish they catch, or the size of the waves they met or the wind speed they experienced. On our recent Red Sea trip, we must have spoken to around 15 small craft about their experiences and not a single one had a negative comment; despite their pre-trip apprehension. As for being chased or followed - this is totally normally for small skiffs to do. Many are crewed by young teenagers who try to sell you fish, or just want drinking water. This might well be terrifying for people transiting the first time. I can understand that. We are always cautious and prefer to open the throttles (we generally have motored in Gulf itself as we rarely seem to have any breeze). We also ALWAYS carry extra fuel for the South-North transit. We have a pair of 200 litres (400 litre in total) Vetus fuel bags in very heavy duty, webbing reinforced canvas bags and those, plus some jerry cans, has always been plenty. There is refuelling available in Massawa, and after that there is plenty of choice.
Also, Mark mentions that he went through in a convoy of 30 boats. That is 30 yachts that chose to go that route! The negativity doesn't add up.
In my world I would look at what I want to do. If I wanted to get to the Caribbean ASAP then I would route via Richards Bay and then work my way along the South African coast to Cape Town before jumping of to St. Helena. Along the route you have so much choice of inland travel as well, plus you have excellent provisioning the whole way. Conversely, if the Med beckoned then the Red Sea is the route of choice. We are presently in Hurghada, Egypt and we are welcomed everywhere we go. The people are not threatening what so ever - perhaps attitude counts a lot.
There shall be incidents everywhere globally - if we over react then we should not sail. We still have the USA as a safe place to go regardless of all the incidents over the years; Columbine High School, the Twin Towers, the Boston marathon, Baltimore etc etc. The same applies to London despite the bombings and the soldier being butchered, Paris with the 12 shot dead at Charlie Hebdo, or Norway with the Anders Behring mass murders, Northern Ireland with the IRA, the Bali bombings. The list just goes on and on.
Still, if people wish to close their minds and have an uninformed rant then who am I to say otherwise? It was not that long ago that the Catholic church insisted the world was flat. Now that statement shall also probably raise the ire of some.........
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Old 19-05-2015, 02:23   #35
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Re: Piracy In Gulf of Aden

Bulawayo, yes being "chased" or followed in SE Asia is common. Often, as you say, to sell you fish, or get whiskey or cigarettes. It can be virtually impossible to tell genuine fishermen from an actual threat until it is too late. However in this instance the presence of approx 15 men on a 50-60 ft boat was suspicious, and, when they finally realized that they were not going to catch us they fired a few shots at us with an AK. We were very lucky they were in a crap boat, and that there was some wind that day. I do believe that the situation at least re the Somali Pirates is not what it was in 2011. I'm in no hurry to go back. It is considerably different when you are faced with the reality. Each skipper must make their own choice and live with it.
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Old 19-05-2015, 02:31   #36
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Re: Piracy In Gulf of Aden

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Originally Posted by Muckle Flugga View Post
Dear Mark,

I am deeply sorry for your loss. And I am thankful for your well considered and undoubtedly very deeply thought out post. Your contribution to this thread is timely and valuable, and adds a sobering and entirely appropriate and important note of seriousness to what has sometimes been, in my considered opinion, a discussion in some cases too lightly taken.

People are often poor at imagining the worst downsides of their risk taking. They are naturally biased to seeing themselves as being the "lucky" ones and that the "worst" will not happen to them. This is why people still walk into casinos despite the odds being intrinsically stacked against them. I learned long ago, while lying in a pool of my own blood, that this is a dangerous illusion.

Your contribution and thoughts are deeply appreciated. I hope you manage to heal. It has been four years, but no doubt will take more.

Thank you,

Yours Aye,

S
Dear Mark,
Our sympathies are with you regarding your loss - it shall always be a painful memory over such a tragic loss, and for the family an incredibly tough time shall have followed.
I do not wish to have someone relive the horror involved but I understood the incident occured mid-way across the Arabian sea, somewhere around 200miles south of Oman?
......and not in the Gulf of Aden?
Try to find an actual report of pirate activity against a small boat in the Gulf in recent time.
This was some four years ago and a lot has changed in the meantime, despite what the naysayers claim. Being chased by a 'pirate' vessel.....hmmmm. I don't doubt that people were scared (I am no different) but from what I have been told (speaking to the military) the actual pirate boats have big motors and have no need to chase a sail boat that can maybe manage 7-10knots under motor - they would catch you in minutes, and not chase you for hours throughout the night! It was most likely several different fisherman. The boats that have chased us have been selling fish or seeking drinking water. Several times, the supposed AK-47's turn out to be fishing rods. Regardless, the fisherman often do carry weapons as they are brought up carry weapons and also need to defend themselves against risks. It does not turn them into pirates/criminals. These guys are also petrified of being accused of being pirates by the various navies operating there. How do we know? Because we do give out drinking water and we do talk to these people and we do ask why they are sometimes carrying weapons.
As an aside, we have been offered these Kalishnikovs with a full magazine for US$50 each.
I repeat for those that may try to change my words that any death under such circumstances is truly awful and no words can make up for such a loss; it is too terrible to contemplate.
For ourselves, we always route close to the Omani coast when in the area - yes, it adds to the distance but then we also use the coast to our advantage and anchor regularly and enjoy blissful, uninterupted night long sleeps. The shops in Oman are also excellent, though few and far between. There are several mega supermarkets in Muscat (Carrefour, LuLu, etc) and the same in Salalah. The prices are also acceptable and the quality is excellent - as for fruit and veg, the selection is amazing. Fuel is also cheap, both petrol and diesel and we routinely fill our tanks in Salalah. Presently, we would stand off the coast from Yemen going westwards, keeping the coast on the horizon. Yemen has a long coastline, and we would close up once in the Gulf proper. On our first transit, back in 2000 we met an Aussie boat that had been robbed in the Gulf. They had immediately reported the incident to the Yemeni authorities who had immediately launched a helocopter search for the criminals involved. They were were caught and subsequently identified face to face by the Australian family. The Australians were horrified when these criminals were immediately tried and sentenced to a firing squad. The skipper was invited to watch to prove the executions were carried out. We asked him about the aftermath and he advised us that the Yemeni authorities were determined to keep their visitors safe and stamp out marine crime. They have their own values and standards that are so very different to ours.......and we have to understand these from both sides of the fence.

Our best wishes to you, your family and your friends.
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Old 19-05-2015, 02:41   #37
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Re: Piracy In Gulf of Aden

Well I know I will be going through there in 2015/2016 the situation there has changed some what whilst there is still a risk it has been largely reduced , I do know of 6 yachts that sailed up the suez in January, February and made it to Limassol in Cyprus with no dramas
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Old 19-05-2015, 02:47   #38
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Re: Piracy In Gulf of Aden

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Bulawayo, yes being "chased" or followed in SE Asia is common. Often, as you say, to sell you fish, or get whiskey or cigarettes. It can be virtually impossible to tell genuine fishermen from an actual threat until it is too late. However in this instance the presence of approx 15 men on a 50-60 ft boat was suspicious, and, when they finally realized that they were not going to catch us they fired a few shots at us with an AK. We were very lucky they were in a crap boat, and that there was some wind that day. I do believe that the situation at least re the Somali Pirates is not what it was in 2011. I'm in no hurry to go back. It is considerably different when you are faced with the reality. Each skipper must make their own choice and live with it.
Dear Matt,
A motorised 50-60ft boat that caught up with you, got sufficiently close to you to fire AK-47's but then suddenly could not catch a boat under sail? Rather odd and very fortuitous for you.

I am ex-army myself; an AK is not a weapon for use over distance. It is deadly over a shorter distance.
Where exactly did this happen? .....and when? Did you report it? As they got so close I assume you got photo's and a description of the attacking vessel?
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Old 19-05-2015, 03:55   #39
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Re: Piracy In Gulf of Aden

Think whatever you like.
The vessel was originally in front of us. It initially approached on our port bow at a range of several miles. We turned away once it was close enough to start to count crew with our binoculars, and we felt it may be a threat. Under Gennaker and full engine power we were at about 10 knots, and they could do about 9.5. They got to about 350m or so once they were directly behind us, and we slowly extended. When they realized they would not catch us the weapons appeared when their waving failed to get us to stop. By that stage with binoculars we had counted about 15 "crew". No way we were stopping then. I too spent some time in the military and understand the limitations of an AK.
Yes we reported it. While it was happening via email (Sailmail). As I said, Indian Ocean, we were a few days behind Quest, and this happened after we turned back.
That is all I have to say about it. You are free to form your own opinions. I hope you don't have to experience something similar.
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Old 19-05-2015, 04:08   #40
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Re: Piracy In Gulf of Aden

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, zadranebbia, and Mark (MESavage).
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Old 19-05-2015, 04:59   #41
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Re: Piracy In Gulf of Aden

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Think whatever you like.
The vessel was originally in front of us. It initially approached on our port bow at a range of several miles. We turned away once it was close enough to start to count crew with our binoculars, and we felt it may be a threat. Under Gennaker and full engine power we were at about 10 knots, and they could do about 9.5. They got to about 350m or so once they were directly behind us, and we slowly extended. When they realized they would not catch us the weapons appeared when their waving failed to get us to stop. By that stage with binoculars we had counted about 15 "crew". No way we were stopping then. I too spent some time in the military and understand the limitations of an AK.
Yes we reported it. While it was happening via email (Sailmail). As I said, Indian Ocean, we were a few days behind Quest, and this happened after we turned back.
That is all I have to say about it. You are free to form your own opinions. I hope you don't have to experience something similar.
Hi Matt,
I looked at the websites that I am aware of before making my earlier post and can not identify your specific report - I am trying to identify yours. I like to know exactly where trouble has occurred and try to maintain a plot of incidents, especially those that occur in our sailing area. Quest was some 200 miles south of Oman at the time of their incident. As you were a couple of days behind Quest; and then your incident happened a couple of days later again, that would suggest that you were approx. 500-600 miles from the position that Quest was in when attacked - most likely closer to Sri Lanka? I am not getting the connection to the Gulf of Aden? Being subject to such an action should be officially reported and recorded to the nearest authorities as well as to your home country.
When the Gulf war kicked off we were at anchor in the Persian Gulf. We were told by several Brits that a Scud missile had landed, but failed to explode, just outside Doha. I was intrigued as from my knowledge, Scuds of that era did not have the range. However, several of the guys had seen it first hand, and a couple had seen it fall from the sky. As a result we, and several others, went to view this, initially from a distance. It was around 40 meters long and about 9 meters in diameters! Anyone that can get that to fly shall have achieved a first. There was no activity around this monster - it turned out it was actually a heat exchanger from the nearby oil/gas facility. Despite this, the claims to have seen it flying prevailed and several families flew out of the country as they preferred to be safe rather than sorry!
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Old 19-05-2015, 06:49   #42
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Re: Piracy In Gulf of Aden

Bulawayo,

I see in your posts continued emphasis on the safety and security in the Gulf of Aden, ignoring or dismissing the importance of security issues further away.

The problem, even if yachts are perfectly safe in the GoA, those yachts do have to cross the Arabian Sea to get there and that's a big ocean. No way that that area can be patrolled and even a semblance of security offered.
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Old 19-05-2015, 07:26   #43
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Re: Piracy In Gulf of Aden

There are been multiple reports of fighting in the port Aden going back to early April. 40 people were reported killed when the boat they were fleeing in was hit by artillery rounds. The recent ceasefire to bring in supplies has failed, though at least some supplies seemed to have been delivered, but the fighting continues.

Later,
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Old 19-05-2015, 07:33   #44
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Re: Piracy In Gulf of Aden

Hi Anthony,
My wife and I did the pirate passage to the Red Sea in December, 2006 in our Amel “SuperMaramu” ketch. (Our blog is at “sv-doodlebug” dot com). After the Maersk Alabama incident, the big boys began carrying armed guards and this I believe made all the difference. Don’t count on any military help - we saw / heard no evidence of patrolling warships. Does this mean that today yachts are at a higher risk since they are less likely to be armed? Your call.

For you the problem is buying diesel. As others have pointed out, Aden is probably no longer a safe stop for fuel. Djibouti is still a good option but when we stopped in Massawa, Eritrea, they had no diesel for sale in the entire country! The clue at the time was that the fishing fleet was all moored up for lack of fuel. Fortunately we were able to spend our accumulated fuel funds (black market “Nakfas”) on local beer - which is excellent.

Port Sudan is probably OK for diesel but you should assume that you will have headwinds from Massawa north and you should further assume that 25 knots will be the norm. Now you might get lucky on the direction and strength but don’t count on it.

Fair Winds,
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Old 19-05-2015, 08:15   #45
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Re: Piracy In Gulf of Aden

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