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May 2009    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 24, No. 5   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Somali Pirates Also Going After Dive Boats

from the May, 2009 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Smaller boats are easier to catch than giant oil tankers, so it was inevitable that Somali pirates would chase after any dive boat that got within range. In early April, they seized the Indian Ocean Explorer, a 115-foot liveaboard that sails the Aldabra Islands, four remote atolls near the Seychelles and Madagascar, and 700 miles southeast of the infamous Somali coast. (See our review of the boat in August 2006.) Luckily, the boat’s passengers, a group of British divers, narrowly missed being kidnapped. They had gone ashore at Assumption Island only hours before the Explorer and its seven-man crew, all from the Seychelles, were seized. Aquatours, the London-based tour operator that books the boat, was e-mailed by the Royal Navy that the Explorer had been hijacked. The Royal Navy says the boat was expected to be taken to Harardhere, a pirate stronghold north of Mogadishu, and held there. Hopefully, the crew will be unharmed as Somali pirates rev up their angry attacks.

The Indian Ocean Explorer is the only dive boat we know of that operates anywhere near the range of the Somali pirates, so divers should be more concerned about sitting on a sea urchin than encountering these barbarians.

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