In my last post, W1702 – Magical Maldives, I described my two day visit to the stunning Maldives, with their fabulous white sand beaches and crystal-clear turquoise sea.
From there we had three days at sea crossing the Arabian Sea to Salalah in Oman, and after a day there, we have four days at sea sailing up the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea to Safaga in Egypt. These seven sea days are in the region where we are potentially at risk from attack by Somali pirates. We have been assured that this risk is small, due to the high freeboard and comparatively high speed of our ship. This short post describes some of the extra security measures and precautions taken by the ship while we sail these more hazardous waters.
The first change I noticed were notices like this appearing all around the ship – this one is directly outside my cabin door:
Each deck has been allocated a ‘safe haven’ – a place we must all muster in the unlikely event of an attack, when we would be alerted by the ship’s tannoy. Here we must sit on the floor, in case the Captain needs to take evasive action and the ship moves suddenly and/or heels right over.
Out on deck there are several more changes. Perhaps the most dramatic is the rolls of lethal-looking razor wire stretched out just below the rails on the outside of the ship, to deter pirates boarding:
On each side of the ship water cannons have also been installed, as well as warning signs in Somali language:
At the stern of the ship an additional spotlight has been installed:
We have additional security personnel on board, some of whom are on watch on the main decks:
Now we are sailing up the Gulf of Aden, we are sailing in convoy with other ships, protected by some of the international fleet of warships in the area.
So far everything has been quiet as expected – and later today we will pass through the Bab al-Mandab Strait into the Red Sea.
Assuming everything remains quiet, my next post will describe the visit we made to Salalah in Oman, and how Carol and I came to be warned off by the Sultan’s guards.