Piracy hotspots on the high seas: Are oceans getting more dangerous for yacht sailors?

The safety of the oceans has always been a concern for sailors and is as real today as it has ever been, whether they’re aboard a commercial vessel or yacht. Gerry Northwood OBE, COO of MAST, featured in the latest print magazine of Yachting Monthly to discuss the current state of security in our oceans as well as the precautions sailors should take when embarking on dangerous routes.
This article was originally published in the August issue of Yachting Monthly. To gain access to the full article please follow this link to the magazine’s website: http://www.yachtingmonthly.com/
Danger spots
Asia, the Indian Ocean and West Africa remain high risk areas and according to our interactive Risk Map which tracks piracy attacks and approaches. These ‘red light areas’ should be completely avoided by yachts due to the high level of criminal activity. For commercial shipping the picture is not quite so bad and The Indian Ocean, previously dominated by Somali pirates, has now become one of the safest areas globally for shipping at sea due to the immense efforts to put an effective security framework in place, and keep it in place.
Safety for sailors
Yachts can often be seen as ‘soft’ targets compared to their fully-crewed commercial counterparts. Although many yachts may be unable to afford or carry additional security personnel for long cruises, comprehensive safety precautions will help mitigate any potential risks.
Sailors will know that setting sail is a complex task which requires thorough preparation, and security should form part of this. Legal and regulatory ramifications must be considered when travelling through particularly dangerous areas.

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