When we started our circumnavigation
in 2010 we spent a lot of time planning our route
. Making a passage
through the Suez channel was not even a consideration. In 2012 our plan was to depart Malaysia
for Cape Town
in late September. What was supposed to be 4 weeks on the slip
turned out to be a 4 month nightmare instead and our window for sailing over the Indian ocean
towards Cape Town
closed (Hurricane season Nov - May). In eager to reach Europe
late summer 2013 we started to look at every other option.
1. Sailing back through pacific?
2. Sail to Mauritius in May, wait another half year to be able to cross the cape of good hope?
The only "logical" option, but takes to long time.
3. Get the ship on a cargo vessel to pass Suez?
4. Sail through Suez ~ April 2013?
5. Sail through Indian ocean in February, wait in Richards bay/Durban for weather windows?
Maybe, possible more dangerous than Suez (hurricane season)
6. Sell the boat in SE Asia, go back to Europe for work and and family?
If I have to, but then I haven't really circumnavigated, and that will bug me for the rest of my life.
7. Leave the boat on dry in Malaysia, work in Europe, return and do the voyage when the timing is correct?
A wise choice, unfortunately I know my self well enough that I would settle down when I start working again. Family
who know.. I'm not saying that settling down is a bad idea, just that deep down inside I know I would not be the happiest chap in the bar growing grey with the thoughts of an interrupted voyage.
What I have come across so far:
hijacks Suez (red sea, Somalian coast, bay of Aden), source: nytimes.com
2010: 239 hijack attempts
2011: 222 hijack attempts
2012: 046 hijack attempts
Note: The "invasion" of the pirate yards in Puntland last year definitely made a change.
World wide piracy
attacks since November 2012, source: icc-ccs.org
Note: Misleading Suez stats. Nov - Jan are "low season" for pirates in Somalia
due to harsh weather
If I WHERE about to take the Suez route
I would most likely prefer to:
-Sail in a convoy where we have hired private (armed) contractors on first and last ship from Cochin (India) -> Shalala (Oman) -> Aden
-Have black painted wooden copies of M16 (in a 1.2 scale) all over the boat
-24/7 night binocular surveillance
-Barbwire all the way around, connect a coil to our 1800AH battery
bank to let 10000v embrace the wire
-Continuously inform piracy maritime security
center about your position and route
I've spent almost every evening the last month searching up on topics regarding Suez, the advice's are two folded. Statistically, the last 5 years Poseidon's trident took a lot more yachtsmen lives in the Indian ocean than the pirates AK 47 in Suez. This is by far the most difficult choice we've had so far.
Do you know anyone passing this year?
What would you do?
Your thoughts & opinions are most welcome!
Fair winds, Kevin.