Piracy Update

Day 75 – Cruising the North Atlantic – Find Insignia (likely disarmed) on CruiseMapper

All’s well that ends well, especially when it comes to sailing pirate waters.

By the time you read this, Insignia should have finished crossing the West Africa High-Risk Area (HRA) and be safely off the coast of Namibia without coming under fire or unholstering our weapons. This notation from a recent CruiseMapper will be gone.

Others have not been so fortunate. You may have seen headlines about the seizure of the Danish tanker Monjasa Reformer in the Gulf of Guinea over the weekend. As we write, contact has not been made with the kidnapped 16 crew members, and the location of the ship is not known.

We were in the sailing same area of the Gulf when the hijacking took place. Tankers of oil are doubtless easier to convert into cash than cruise liners full of retirees, no matter how affluent. Nonetheless, the attack sure contributes to Insignia’s continued distinction as the only passenger ship sailing the coast of West Africa. We can’t help but wonder what the Lloyd’s of London premium adds to the fare.

The hijacking also illustrates why we sailed from Dakar with companions like this.

And it explains why even Insignia’s unarmed crew were pressed into defensive duty. Crew members stood guard on the decks in six-hour shifts around the clock for our entire transit, their eyes never leaving the horizon.

While we are speaking of defensive measures, Partout can’t help wondering whether the out-of-cash status of the shipboard ATM resulted from heavier-than-usual gambling during the nervous leg of the cruise or because the ship stashed the cash in the citadel as a precautionary measure.

Other Acts of Piracy

Regardless, when we reach Namibian waters, the risk of criminal piracy will be officially behind us, leaving only the risk of bureaucratic piracy not uncommon in some poor world ports. Insignia experienced that version first-hand in Togo.

After the majority of the ship’s passengers had left for excursions, 27 uniformed officials of various sorts (customs, immigration, port, etc.) boarded Insignia for an inspection. The men toured the ship, inspected the food stores, questioned passengers who had stayed behind and then helped themselves to the buffet and ordered whiskey. Shakedowns take many forms.

Doris’s personal favorite pirate story from the journey came out of a book on slavery we picked up in West Africa. According to Facts About Slavery, 17th-century pirate Claes Gerritszoon Compaen – known in his day as “the terror of the seas” – once captured a Portuguese slave ship, threw the crew overboard and freed the enslaved cargo. Robin Hoods take many forms, too.

Another Question Answered

Alice and others wrote, “Wait a sec! You put pythons around your necks?? No. Tell me u didn’t.”

Yes, Alice. There were pythons on our necks. Seeing is believing.

Coming Soon!

Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana: Haunting Histories

Fitness Afloat

Introducing Milou and Snowy

7 thoughts on “Piracy Update

  1. I was hoping that python-around-the-neck description was some kind of typo. Thanks for the picture ..I think. Glad you are out of reach of the pirates! Love being able to follow along on your journey!


  2. Doris! The python is definitely more stylish than the fox-fur (With its little teeth grasping its tail) that my grandmother used to wear! Glad you’re safely out of pirate territory.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s