Sunday, 16 June 2013

The Hidden Cost Of Piracy

The Admiral is busy planning our crossing of the Indian Ocean as I write this - she's counting and calculating everything from courtesy flags to bread flour, from tissue boxes to lube oil, so we have plenty of provisions on board.  But it's the southern Indian Ocean we're looking at, not the easier northern route that would have lead us through the Red Sea to the Med.  Piracy is still a real problem in the northern areas, so we need to head south and travel via the Cape Of Good Hope into the southern Atlantic. That's an extra 5000 miles of sailing to reach Gibraltar.

MV Sea Bird Fitting Slings For Loading
For others, the option of shipping the boat to the Med is proving attractive.  Many yachts travel as deck cargo on ships, transiting the piracy zone quickly and in relative safety at 20 knots or so.  Our good friends Steve and Carol on MV Sea Bird shipped to Turkey back in March on-board the transport ship MV Thorco Svendborg, and are now enjoying the delights of the Turkish coast.  Rates for shipping from Phuket to Turkey start at around US$1,000.00 per foot, and this year there were three ships loading yachts and motor vessels in Phuket for the trip west.  It is big business, and it is a hidden cost of piracy.  Five thousand miles or fifty thousand dollars ?

Sea Bird Lifting
Ley (the Admiral) and I have spent several years here in Asia, hoping the piracy would diminish - but it is not safe yet.  Some are saying there hasn't been a yacht taken in the past year, but then again no yachtsman with any common sense would enter the northern Indian Ocean or the Arabian Sea at the moment.  Further, the military folks charged with policing the "bad zone" are saying that yachts are more at risk right now, because the shipping is better protected and the pirates are looking for targets of opportunity.  See the information provided by the Ocean Cruising Club here.
Sea Bird Joins The Cargo On Deck

Consequently, this year around 40 boats sail from Asia via the Cape and South Africa, commiting to that extra 5000 nautical miles.  We estimate another 50 or so will book places aboard the several ships that are offering to carry smaller vessels through the troubled area.

What ever path you choose, it is now costing much more to travel from Asia to Europe and beyond.

Information on the voyage of  Sea Bird is on their blog here.

For more information you should review the information provided by the Ocean Cruising Club.  That page also includes a number of other useful links, plus details of some shipping schedules for next year.



1 comment:

  1. To say nothing of the cost of outfitting for an Indian Ocean crossing, and the cost of fixing stuff in Africa. On the other hand, the South Atlantic is a beauty, when you get to that one, and think of the money you save by not going to Europe!

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