You may have heard of the pirates who have been operating in the Gulf of Aden off the Somali coast in the Indian Ocean. Up until now they have been hijacking oil tankers and the like in the hopes of extracting a large ransom for return of the vessel and its cargo. It now seems as though these real life Jack Sparrows are spreading their wings and not only going further afield but also attacking vessels of a different nature.
News that a scuba diving ship operating from one of the world’s greatest diving locations in the Seychelles Islands has been seized is sending shock waves through the Seychelles tourist industry. The ‘Indian Ocean Explorer’ had just dropped her divers on Assumption Island when she was hijacked by the pirates and taken to Harardhare, a pirate stronghold north of Mogadishu.
The Seychelles coral archipelago offers some of the best diving in the world and its pristine white sand beaches attract thousands of tourists to the islands every year. The pirate attack which occurred last weekend and is the second such attack to happen in a month has forced the Seychelles government to deploy security vessels to the outer islands in the archipelago.
According to the International Maritime Bureau 130 vessels were attacked by Somali pirates last year. On Tuesday the Japanese navy joined US, Chinese and EU navies who are patrolling the shipping lanes which lead to the Suez Canal. They face a daunting task in trying to patrol over 400,000 square miles of ocean.
You can see from these videos below, the first from rutgergeeling, the second from KesandSarah, what the attraction is of scuba diving in the Seychelles – be it whale sharks, green turtles or incomparable visibilty – you will understand why this very serious problem has to be resolved.