Yacht owners threatened by rise of piracy

THERE’S no escape for the ultra-rich following reports that their superyachts are the new favoured target for pirates off the coast of Africa.

While most people’s main holiday concern is remembering to pack the suncream, maritime security firm MAST says the number of enquiries it has received from private individuals has risen by 80 per cent over the last six months.

“It’s clear that pirates around the world are becoming emboldened by successful attacks against commercial ships off places like the west coast of Africa, which in recent months has seen a proliferation of copy-cat incidents,” said MAST chief executive Phil Cable.

His company is responding by offering escorts through dangerous areas, on-ship security guards and the installation of anti-piracy measures.

There are around 4,500 superyachts (classed as any private boat longer than 30ft) in the world and many spend the whole year at sea, transitioning between oceans so their owners can always catch the sun.

As a result this time of year is one of the most risky, as many boats are passing from Asian shores to Europe and the Americas, via the pirate-laden Gulf of Aden and Gulf of Guinea.