Never thought I’d be on a ship trying to outrun Somali pirates. Bob and I recently sailed across the Arabian sea in pirate-infested waters. Don’t worry, the captain said. We’ll do the most dangerous part at night. And we’ll darken the ship. Yeah, that made me relax.
It’s risky, but we’re prepared. It will be a race, the captain said, and we have speed! Also, our ship sits high above the water—that’s another advantage.
All the successful defenses against pirates have caused them to expand their territory. With so many drug-smuggling and human trafficking boats out there, it’s hard to determine which are pirates. The trick is to look for a ladder in the boats. But pirates tend to cover up their ladders. And how can you look for ladders at night?
As additional, film-worthy defenses, we had high-powered water hoses all rigged up, and sound cannons. Razor wire was coiled across the aft decks. We had 24-hour lookout teams and sharpshooters with their own coffee stations, and a commander from the Royal British Navy on board. We were tracked by multiple agencies.
Some ships travel through the Gulf of Aden in convoys but not us. No. Because we had speed, we’d dash through alone, in the dark. Some ships hang huge bundles of timber from the sides of the ship and cut the ropes if pirates try to board. We didn’t dangle timber bundles. We blacked-out our windows.