High-profile pirate attacks

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APRIL 2 — Two well-known boats faced attacks by pirates recently while transiting the Red Sea in the Middle East.

Greepeace’sRainbow Warrior II, the environmental group’s 180-foot flagship, was approached by pirates off Oman early last month, according to a crewmember’s blog. The masked pirates, all of whom apparently were carrying weapons, were spotted aboard four skiffs racing toward the Greenpeace vessel.

“Alarms sounded on the Rainbow Warrior and the Greenpeace crew turned out to line the ship side railing — creating the presence of witness,” the crewmember writes in the blog. The Greenpeace captain placed a mayday call saying the crew was under attack. A French navy war ship received the message and diverted course to assist.

“Either the 16 witnesses or the imminent arrival of the French Navy turned the cards and the pirates backed off,” the crewmember writes.

A few days later members of the Blue Water Rally reported that a group of boats including Sir Francis Chichester’s famous yacht, Gipsy Moth IV, was threatened by pirates while headed for the Red Sea, a news report says.

The group claims that a high-speed RIB with four men on board approached them, and another boat could be seen in the distance, the report says. The boats formed a close formation and sent out a Mayday over VHF.

Not long after, the USS Oak Hill, a U.S. warship, appeared over the horizon and the pirates retreated, says the report. The warship crew launched an armed patrol vessel to the group. The incident lasted about 30 minutes.

Gipsy Moth IV was participating in the Blue Water Rally, a 22-month circumnavigation, the report says.

Jason Fell