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MAST warns yachting community that opportunistic thefts, particularly in Indonesia, are on the rise

Date: 23 April 2013


Maritime Asset Security and Training (MAST) Ltd, is warning yacht and super-yacht captains and owners be on their guard when sailing in the waters of South East Asia, after a significant spike in attacks in Indonesia during 2012.

As yacht owners prepare for the summer yachting season, MAST warns effective action by the Royal Thai Navy to combat piracy in the Gulf of Thailand risks lulling yacht owners and captains into a false sense of security.

While the most common target for piracy attacks in the region are tugs and barges, MAST warns that the threat to pleasure craft is also high, with a high risk of opportunistic attacks on yachts as they lie at anchor.

MAST warns that the many isolated bays in the region provide opportunities for local criminals, whose motivation is robbery rather than more established ransom-driven piracy.

The bulk of these opportunistic attacks are carried out while yacht occupants are asleep with thieves capable of swimming large distances in order to carry out attacks, with little warning.

David Gates, MAST Ltd said: “The Royal Thai Navy has been highly effective in tackling organised piracy, and these types of attacks are now largely absent from the Gulf of Thailand however, anchorage crime and opportunistic theft are an ongoing problem and these attacks often goes unreported as Masters do not wish to delay voyages by reporting what many regard as petty theft.

“While the theft of passengers’ possessions and valuables may seem a less pressing issue than piracy, most thieves will be armed with machetes and parangs and attacks can be violent if resisted.”

MAST is advising yacht owners and captains to audit their on-board security before departing to ensure that it is appropriate for the region they are visiting and the changing threats that they are likely to face.

David Gates concludes: “The yachting community needs to maintain continual vigilance and ensure that security measures used on-board yachts are still valid – pirates and local thieves are highly adaptable and change their methods to meet counter-attack methods being deployed. We strongly recommend that captains review their security arrangements and undertake security drills before entering at-risk areas, including those where anti-piracy actions (such as those undertaken by the Royal Thai Navy) have successfully cut the number of these most violent attacks.”

MAST is issuing the following tips to the yachting community visiting the Gulf of Thailand, and particularly those going to Indonesia, to supplement existing security arrangements:

• Avoid stays of more than 24-hours in bays where there are no other yachts anchored

• Never anchor near fishing boats / flotillas, the wealth differential can prompt opportunistic attacks

• Never trade / stop for local fishermen / craftsmen if the number of people out-number those on board the yacht

• Maintain vigilance and security perimeters at all times, even when sailing in supposedly safe waters

For further information visit: www.MAST-Technology.com