Seychelles - Pirates and Crime

Seychelles | Sun, 29 Aug 2010 | 2209 views | No Comments

If you view pirates as the type characterized by Johnny Depp and friends in “Pirates of the Caribbean,” you’ll get a reality check in Seychelles.

Somali pirates rove the waters here, primarily in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. Attacks have taken place about 1,000 nautical miles off the Somali coast and mostly target tankers and dry bulkers, from which pirates make tens of millions of dollars.

However, attacks have also occurred nearer to the southern islands by the African east coast and have included private yachts. Yachts and other pleasure boats, therefore, are limited to 12 nautical miles offshore in the Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. 

Some of the recent pirate attacks have included seizure of a German cargo ship and its crew in January 2011. Crew members of the vessel, who hid from the pirates, said a distress signal went unanswered for two-and-a-half days.

Another thwarted attack occurred in March 2011, when a fishing vessel only 260 nautical miles off the northwest coast of the islands reported a whaler and a skiff advancing with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades. The whaler scared off the pirates, who were later caught and arrested.

The issue of pirate attacks has gotten so bad that governments advise against sailing when in the Seychelles. The Government of Seychelles itself has banned hire craft, commercial cruise ships and temporary cruising licensed ships from the outer islands like Platte, the Amirantes group, Coetivy and the southern group of islands. 

If you stay out of the high seas, you’re unlikely to befall serious crime while on your trip to the Seychelles. While crimes against tourists in general on the islands are nominal, the Seychelles had the second-highest rate of reported rape per capita of any country in the world between 1998 and 2000. Updated information is not available.

The country’s small population should be taken into account when considering this statistic, however. Otherwise, you don’t hear much about rape in Seychelles. Concerned men and women can take certain precautions to be on the safe side, such as traveling in groups and not walking alone in isolated areas at night. 

As with many tourist destinations, there is petty crime like pickpocketing and theft in Seychelles. Many hotel rooms don’t have safes, but reception will store valuables in its vault for you. Keep passports and other documents with you.

Lock hotel room doors and windows whether you’re there or not, and don’t leave belongings on the beach or in cars. Be careful in isolated parts of Beau Vallon and alleyways and remote roads in Victoria at night.

You may see pirated goods for sale, but do not buy them, as you could face penalties both in Seychelles and your home country. You might see political rallies and street protests in Seychelles, and you should stay away from them to avoid trouble. Also, homosexuality is against the law in the Seychelles, so this is not the ideal place for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. 


Tags: africa, pirates, seychelles, travel-crime, travel-safety, travel-terrorism

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