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.
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.
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.
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