We sailed through ‘Pirate Alley’ (the Gulf of Aden) in 2010 and although it was a tense passage it was not something we took lightly. We researched and researched, joined organisations, followed piracy updates, studied piracy attack maps and were in constant communication with naval task forces from the south of the Red Sea to India.

The number of people we meet cruising the Indian Ocean and its environs who have no knowledge of the latest piracy situation is worrying. We believe in arming ourselves with as much up-to-date information on piracy before making an informed decision as to whether it is a safe passage or not. With this in mind in 2010 we started providing a free piracy alert service.

The best place to get these updates is either this page or our piracy_update Twitter service, which sends updates out to over 1,700 seafarers. Sources include the BBC, Wall Street Journal, The Hindu, Twitter, ICC, Reuters and various African and Middle Eastern publications.

You may subscribe to our daily piracy email or weekly piracy email. If you are on low-bandwidth email then don’t forget to select ‘text-only’ version of the weekly email. To get piracy attack alert emails click here. If you prefer RSS [?] use this link to subscribe to daily RSS. See the right-hand column for more subscription options including Followtheboat’s Twitter piracy update for up-to-the-minute alerts.

ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) Latest Data

The ICC IMB offer a great 24-hour manned piracy update service on Twitter, which we recommend following.

Updated on 16 September 2014. Source: ICC


Worldwide incidents


Somali related incidents

Sixteen reported incidents but no hi-jackings

170 / 12

Current crew / vessels held by Somali pirates


West Africa related incidents

33 reported incidents including four hijacking.

Latest News

Please note this is an automated service. We are not responsible for any of the news content on this page. We try our best to filter out spurious and irrelevant content but occasionally they do slip through. If you notice inappropriate content please let us know.

25 November 2014 @ 7:25 pm UTC
Moving TargetsThe Maritime ExecutiveThe tactics are believed to be part of a new business model in which violence and intimidation play a major role. In an April CNN special, Cmdr. Anthony Russell, US…

25 November 2014 @ 4:51 pm UTC
Piracy in Somalia made the international headlines again these past few weeks, and news organizations have been scrambling for soundbites that explain the ……

25 November 2014 @ 11:36 am UTC
The Somali pirates do not seize a ship primarily for the value of the ship and its cargo. Piracy in Somalia is focused on the value of the ship’s crew as hostages….

25 November 2014 @ 9:41 am UTC
Somalia is a country located in the Horn of Africa, considered to be a home of world’s best known contemporary pirates. Numerous hijacking operations of ……

24 November 2014 @ 10:21 pm UTC
A Base Camp, an Authoritarian Regime, and the Future of US Blowback in AfricaToward FreedomThe Army also sent medical personnel tomentorChadian counterparts in “tactical combat casualty care,” whi…

24 November 2014 @ 7:36 pm UTC
Fighting piracy is a vital element of the United States’ strategic objectives in Somalia, which are to help this stressed nation to regain stability, eliminate ……

24 November 2014 @ 6:53 pm UTC
Words to Avoid (or Use with Care) Because They Are Loaded or Confusing. There are a number of words and phrases that we recommend avoiding, or avoiding in certain ……

24 November 2014 @ 3:47 pm UTC
Editor’s Note: In the first week of April, Somali pirates raided an American-flagged ship in the Indian Ocean and took the captain hostage. It was only one of several ……

24 November 2014 @ 7:19 am UTC
(BBC Our World: Pirate Hunters) Reporter: Jonathan Beale Camera: Jonny Hallam Editor: Amanda Gunn….

24 November 2014 @ 12:45 am UTC
ICC Commercial Crime Services (CCS) is the anti-crime arm of the International Chamber of Commerce. Based in London, CCS is a membership organisation tasked with ……

23 November 2014 @ 8:21 pm UTC
Directed by Gore Verbinski. With Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley. Blacksmith Will Turner teams up with eccentric pirate “Captain” Jack ……

23 November 2014 @ 6:19 pm UTC
Make sure your security strategy protects against shifting tactics, a snowballing number of incidents and increasing levels of violence. The constantly shifting ……

23 November 2014 @ 6:52 am UTC
Pirates flee from the German navy as the frigate Rheinland-Pfalz intercepted them in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia’s coast on March 3, 2009. The German navy detained ……

23 November 2014 @ 5:26 am UTC
Search the Web for Sounds … FindSounds? Below is a partial list. Click on any link below to perform a search, or enter one or more words in the search box above and ……

23 November 2014 @ 12:25 am UTC
You wouldn’t steal a policeman’s helmet and go to the toilet in it… would you?…

21 November 2014 @ 5:36 pm UTC
Sleek, modern and built on a budget – Denmark's latest frigateDefenseNews.comDanes have a well-deserved reputation for designing and building efficient, effective ships on tight budgets. In lin…

21 November 2014 @ 10:43 am UTC
While piracy attacks seem to be on the decline off the coast of Somalia, pirates may be warming up in West Africa. As I and others have blogged about before, the Gulf ……

20 November 2014 @ 5:47 pm UTC
The Outpost That Doesn't Exist in the Country You Can't LocateTruth-OutThe Army also sent medical personnel to mentor Chadian counterparts in “tactical combat casualty care,” while Marin…

19 November 2014 @ 2:15 am UTC
Private Security Drones for Counter-Piracy OpsHellenic Shipping News WorldwideAccording to Advanced Tactics and Countermeasures Global, “acting as a forward scout and transmitting a live video feed …

17 November 2014 @ 10:02 pm UTC
MarineLinkWatchStander triples effective operating range of anti-piracy system to six …Hellenic Shipping News WorldwideWatchStander LLC, a provider of anti-piracy technology for the shipping industr…

Essential Contacts And Documents

In this section we provide only the most essential contacts and pointers to necessary documentation. It is up to the navigator to source all necessary information that they think appropriate for their passage. Our best advice is that you contact as many organisations and contacts of your detailed passage plan as possible, including task forces and coastguards. Below are our recommended contacts and essential reading.


The UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) office in Dubai acts as the primary point of contact for merchant vessels and liaison with military forces in the region. UKMTO Dubai also administers the Voluntary Reporting Scheme, under which merchant vessels are encouraged to send regular reports, providing their position/course/speed and ETA. The link above is their email address.

MSCHOA Maritime Security Centre – Horn of Africa

Set up by the European task force to tackle piracy in this area. Established the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC). Esper joined MSCHOA organisation to gain full access to the website. Maintenance of ship’s position with the MSCHOA throughout the Indian Ocean is recommended.

ICC-CCS International Chamber of Commerce: Commercial Crimes Service

Go to their IMB Reporting centre for information on piracy and a map of piracy activity.

International Sailing Federation

The International Sailing Federation was set up to provide racing sailors with a set of internationally recognised set of rules and measurement standards. The ISAF also produces a set of recommendations for sailors entering into known areas of piracy. The link above takes you to the latest downloadable pdf on their recommendations.

Best Management Practice Guidelines

From the ICC website: “Industry bodies, along with the IMB and navies, have developed guidelines to assist masters in transiting the dangerous waters in the Gulf of Aden and off the east coast of Somalia.The guidelines, called the Best Management Practice (BMP), are a fluid document which gets updated with renewed guidelines as lessons are learned.” Click on the link to download the pdf.

European Union Naval Force Somalia

EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta acts in accordance with United Nations Security Councils resolutions. The military operation was launched 8 December and has been extended by the European Council until December 2012. EU Navfor has a download page which includes a weekly piracy incident summary, list of currently pirated vessels and the anti-piracy planning chart.

Video Library

Below is a random clip from youtube on the subject of Somali pirates, uploaded within the last 18 months. The buttons on the left (< and >) jump backwards and forwards between random clips, whilst the buttons on the right take you to the original youtube link, switches to full screen, and mutes the volume respectively.

Please note that a few clips may not play due to owner restrictions. If this happens, click the link button to view it (first button on the right after the time counter).

This div will be replaced