A Forum for Opinions on News, Politics, and Life
March 1st, 2011
By Dan Miller
Danish sailors and guests aboard the Sailing Vessel ING were captured by Somalian pirates when their boat was taken on Thursday, February 24th as they sailed in the Indian Ocean about five hundred miles off the coast of Somalia en route to the Suez Canal, the Mediterranean and thence Europe. Three of their children (aged twelve to sixteen) were aboard. Associates of the pirates have apparently claimed that any rescue attempt will result in their deaths, as it recently did for four adult sailors from the United States. That claim cannot be taken lightly.
The Danish cruisers now held captive were experienced sailors and knew of earlier attacks.
Just days before the hijacking, the family wrote on a travel blog that it was in daily contact with anti-piracy forces and had prepared a “piracy plan” in case of an attack.
Blog postings chronicling the family’s round-the-world journey showed it entered the area well aware that the American yacht had been hijacked by pirates but comforted by the presence of counter-piracy forces.
“Of course, we talked quite a lot about it but this is far over thousands of kilometers (miles) away and the Arabian Sea that we sail in is the size of Europe,” the family said a Feb. 20 posting on ING jordenrundt.info. ING is the name of their boat.
Two days later, that standoff ended with four Americans being killed by their Somali captors.
There are dangers as well as pleasures in blue water sailing and a few of the former are due to the perversity of humans. Even in the Caribbean, where my wife and I lived and cruised on our sailboat for about six years, there were some dangers and being attentive to them usually meant avoiding places where they had recently occurred. A daily shortwave radio net covering most of the Caribbean, sometimes referred to as the “Paranoia Net,” provides such information. At least in the Caribbean, piracy is quite rare and isolated. There is about as much freedom of the seas there as one could reasonably expect.
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