Boats and ships near Somalia and Yemen should travel in convoys and maintain good radio communications at all times because of the threat of pirate attacks, a U.S. travel advisory warns.
Sailors should avoid the Somali port of Mogadishu and remain at least 200 nautical miles (230 miles or 370 kilometers) off the Horn of Africa nation to avoid pirate attacks, armed robberies and kidnappings for ransom, according to a travel advisory released by the U.S. Embassy in Kenya.
Pirates have attacked vessels sailing near Yemen and Somalia's 3,000-kilometer (1,880-mile) coastline, Africa's longest. The two countries lie close to important shipping route connecting the Red Sea with the Indian Ocean, where valuable cargo and carriers must pass.
The problem was reported globally after two boatloads of pirates attacked a luxury cruise liner carrying mostly American passengers on Nov. 5. The Seabourn Spirit sped away and no passengers were injured, but one of the 161-person crew was wounded by shrapnel in the raid, which occurred about 100 miles (160 kilometers) off Somalia.
Somalia has had no effective government since opposition leaders ousted a dictatorship in 1991 and then turned on each other, carving the nation of 8.2 million into a patchwork of warlord fiefdoms, the AP reports.