Pirates in the Indian Ocean

Published on March 14th, 2024

When the second leg of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race (now The Ocean Race) started from Cape Town, and had a northerly course in the Indian Ocean toward Abu Dhabi, crossing through the doldrums was not the only concern. The route also passed along an active area of piracy.

An exclusion zone was established to keep the fleet offshore, and out of the pirate territory that lied off the coast of East Africa and to the south of the Arabian Peninsula. This route to Abu Dhabi was introduced for the 2011-12 race, but on that occasion the boats were shipped part of the way due to piracy concerns, though today that plan has risks too.

On March 12, a 186m bulk carrier was seized by pirates in the Indian Ocean while approximately 600 nautical miles east of Mogadishu, Somalia. The 23-member crew is being held hostage as the ship sails towards the Somali coast with a $5 million ransom required for the ship’s release, and a threat that crew members will be executed if their demands are not met.

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