Flotilla leader warns that 'something bad is going to happen'
The Royal Navy has turned down a request from a yacht flotilla for an escort across the pirate-infested waters of the Indian Ocean.
Rene and Edith Tiemessen, a Dutch couple sailing with their two-year-old daughter on a 60ft yacht, Alondra, have organised a 30-yacht convoy from Thailand to Turkey and asked the Navy for protection over four days of the journey.
But the Royal Navy, which heads the EU anti-piracy taskforce (Operation Atlanta), has told them that it does not have the resources.
Mr Tiemessen said: ‘We have been begging for help for months, because we knew we would have to make this journey to get home, which is the same for all the other sailors stranded here.
‘Something bad is going to happen. The families on these boats are starting to panic and go off in different directions.
‘With the dramatic increase in pirate activity in the Indian Ocean I cannot believe that all 100 yachts can get through unscathed.’
The Ministry of Defence responded: ‘This is a totally unrealistic request. The naval vessels of Operation Atlanta have to prioritise their duties and protecting merchant vessels leaves them with little scope for protecting unnecessary sailing.’
Mr Tiemessen said: ‘We are not simply cruising around irresponsibly. We are caught on the wrong side of an ever-changing and expanding problem.
‘But now they have told us there is nothing they can do. It’s like asking for help from the police and being told you are not eligible.’