Panel to discuss piracy threat

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MARCH 30 — Pirate attacks and security aboard large yachts will be the topics of an April 5 panel discussion at Bluewater Books and Charts in Fort Lauderdale.

“We decided to have this discussion because we think it's timely,” says Melanie Neale with Bluewater Books. “A lot of our customers are yacht captains who spend the summers chartering in the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean and other piracy-prone areas. They usually leave Fort Lauderdale in the spring to head to these places. We thought that this discussion might help answer some questions that they may have about how to manage onboard security.”

The scheduled panelists include Patrick Estebe, president of AffAirAction; Derek Smith, of Frazier Yachts; and Capt. Steve Mort, of Wright Maritime Group, a news release says. Lucy C. Reed, editor of Triton, Fort Lauderdale’s newspaper for large yacht captains, will moderate the discussion. Bluewater Books and Triton are co-hosting the event.

While the number of ocean pirate attacks fell to a six-year low in 2005, attacks continued to increase off countries like Somalia and Iraq, according to a report prepared by the International Maritime Bureau. Other countries that reported a significant number of pirate attacks last year are Nigeria, Malaysia, Thailand, Tanzania and Vietnam.

—Jason Fell