Sailing the Seychelles: How to Avoid Pirates and Crime

The Seychelles attracts some wealthy visitors who travel by boat, making it a prime target for pirates. Here's how you can avoid criminals in the waters surrounding the Seychelles.

View of the Seychelles from a boat Photo © Getty Images/Slavisa JEFTIC / 500px

If you view pirates as the type characterized by Johnny Depp and friends in Pirates of the Caribbean, you'll need a reality check before you go to Seychelles.

In African waters, pirates are an all too real threat, but you can avoid them.

Here's what you need to know about the realities of crime and pirates operating in the water surrounding Seychelles.

Piracy threat in Seychelles

Somali pirates roam 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.

In January 201,  a German cargo ship and its crew were seized. 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.

In 2015 the country's Minister for Tourism and Culture, Alain St Ange said piracy should no longer be a concern for superyachts looking to visit Seychelles. Private yachts and luxury yacht charters started returning to the Seychelles with armed guards to protect them from any potential threats in the archipelago.

But, if you're not a millionaire, chances are you're not onboard a superyacht or a luxury cruise ship. Maybe you're planning to charter the islands in a smaller boat, with far fewer funds available to pay for the security required? The best advice is to avoid traveling by boat more than 12 nautical miles from the shore.

In 2016, NATO announced the end of Operation Ocean Shield, a counter-piracy initiative. The program ended due to the lack of any successful attack since May 2012. Two unsuccessful attacks were registered in 2014. However, if you stay out of the high seas, you're unlikely to befall serious crime while on your trip to Seychelles. 

Personal safety tips while in the Seychelles

While crimes against tourists in general on the islands are nominal, the country's small population should be taken into account when considering this statistic. 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. If your hotel room doesn't have a safe, the 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 parked 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 crowds to avoid trouble
  • Homosexuality is against the law in Seychelles, so this is not the ideal place for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities to show affection. If you keep public displays of affection to a minimum, you should have no problems traveling with your partner.

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  • khan said

    maa ki choot seychelles ki

  • Someone said

    Shut up Khan. Teri maa ki choot. Gandi kutti saali.

  • Someone said

    Homosexuality is NOT against the law in Seychelles! Get your facts straight!

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