Recently, the US Navy released statistics showing a significant drop in incidences of piracy near Somalia. The New York Times, picking up on the news, characterized it as a “plunge.” Indeed the numbers are telling: There were reported 46 attacks in 2012, versus 222 in 2011 and 239 in 2010.
While these attacks can target private vessels—and they already have—the pirates have been more likely to go after commercial tankers and other shipping interests with huge pockets. They, unlike private yachts, have little choice but travel through risky areas. The operators reacted to the repeated attacks with increased awareness, patrols and security measures.
Brian Peterman, CEO of security yacht company Command at Sea International and a retired US Coast Guard Vice Admiral, says there is a lesson in this for private yacht captains and owners. What has worked for the big shipping companies—increased use of high-tech navigation and surveillance technology, installation of safe or "citadel" rooms, effective training, use of countermeasures such as sound cannons and reliance on better intelligence reports—will work for private vessels. "All these effective measures and strategies are available to yacht owners," Peterman says.
Peterman, whose extensive experience includes command of Coast Guard operations from Colorado to the Arabian Sea, also points out that these measures can be effective in areas much closer to home. Popular cruising areas are rife with the kind of crime that more commonly affect private boats and yachts, including "common theft, political unrest, cyber security and random acts of violence." They may not attract the biggest headlines, but they are the more likely to happen.
For more information on Command at Sea International, visit casi-security.com