Boat Rat: Our Readers Respond to the Piracy Debate

We received many well thought out responses to our publisher’s letter last week in regards to how to handle the threats of piracy. Here are just a few of them:

“I would not sail into a hurricane so why would I sail into or near a situation that is just as dangerous.” -John Tribaldos

“I write this from the perspective of a professional delivery captain.  Anyone who ventures offshore assumes multiple risks.  Most try to minimize these risks by being prudent.  We wait for good weather windows, we back up electronic charts with hard copies, we carry spare parts, we don’t enter unknown harbors at night, etc, and we realize that we need to be completely self reliant in the advent of trouble.  We don’t operate foolishly.  To deliberately enter a known very dangerous area, especially when there is a safer alternative is beyond foolish, and then to ask others to put themselves at risk to protect us from our recklessness is beyond reason.  The answer is very obvious.  Don’t go there, and if you do so in the face the obvious, you are on your own.” -Bob Fritz, Compass Rose Yacht Delivery

“I just hate to see thugs being allowed to make the decisions as to who goes where.  Why is the world just throwing up their hands and allowing them to control this area of the world?  I readily admit I don’t have the answers, but the mission of the US Navy – as told to me by my husband, who is a 20-year veteran of that organization – is to protect Americans, at home and abroad.  To say the solution is to just cede the area to the pirates only encourages and emboldens them.  One solution might be special forces in small boats disguised as yachts – this might give the pirates pause if they knew this was a possibility.” -Kate Bird, s/v Magda Jean

“OK I agree and also disagree with the comments on escorts and alternative routes. Yes we should avoid the areas, yes we can choose to go other ways BUT how long before the pirates move their locations and follow us? If we run away today then tomorrow we must also run away. IF we take a stand and fight we may be able to win and discourage the pirates. I do not think we can just stand by and do nothing. My best guess is we need to have some protection and also show some force. IN BC Canada we have a car theft problem, to fight it they set up “bait cars” which would auto lock, shut down and the bastards were caught. This has dropped auto crime by more than 80% in the province. Can we do bait boats? I think so. Imagine when word gets out that there are bait boats, that pirates are being captured and shot, and that there is a military group helping sailors in these waters several times a year. Think also what a show of solidarity it would be. Will it stop piracy? I do not think so, but it will make the risk reward not as attractive and in that it may slow it down.” -Larry Traverse, Vancouver, BC

For more responses, be sure to pick up the May issue of Blue Water Sailing.

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